Joba Chamberlain throws two hitless innings

New York Yankees relief pitcher Joba Chamberlain, who

New York Yankees relief pitcher Joba Chamberlain, who injured his right ankle while jumping on a trampoline with his son, wears his hospital bracelets as he speaks to reporters in Tampa, Fla. (March 27, 2012) (Credit: AP)

TAMPA, Fla. -- Joba Chamberlain sailed through his second rookie-level Gulf Coast League game and looks like a pitcher quickly nearing a promotion to a higher minor-league level.

The Yankees reliever, coming back from ankle and elbow injuries, struck out two and didn't allow a hit in two scoreless innings Saturday against Blue Jays minor-leaguers. One batter did reach on an error.

"It was good," said Chamberlain, who threw 19 of 28 pitches for strikes. "My slider was a lot better. Fastball command was better today but not where I want it. It was just great to be able to sit and get back up for another inning. My velocity was better in the second inning than it was in the first inning, so that's always a good sign."

Chamberlain's fastball reached 97 mph for the second consecutive game.

There has been no announcement about where Chamberlain will pitch next, although a promotion in the near future seems inevitable.

"It's getting closer," Chamberlain said. "Obviously, the two innings is a big step. I felt like I handled it pretty good. Hopefully here soon, go put a different uniform on and get going."

The righthander went 2-0 with a 2.83 ERA in 27 relief appearances last season before undergoing Tommy John elbow ligament surgery June 16. Ahead of schedule in rehabbing his elbow, Chamberlain dislocated his right ankle while bouncing on a trampoline with his son March 22.

"I could not be more happy than where I'm at," Chamberlain said. "It gets better as it goes. The BPs got better, the sim game, it got better. My first outing was good, and this one, the second inning was so much better. It just continues to grow."

Chamberlain struck out two and gave up an unearned run in his first game Tuesday against Pittsburgh farmhands.

Catcher Austin Romine, out since the beginning of spring training with a back injury, joined the Gulf Coast League Yankees on Friday.

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