Joba Chamberlain 'week or two' away from pitching in minors

FILE - In this Feb. 20, 2011 file FILE - In this Feb. 20, 2011 file photo, New York Yankees pitcher Joba Chamberlain throws during an early morning bullpen session at spring training baseball in Tampa, Fla. Photo Credit: AP

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TAMPA, Fla. -- Joba Chamberlain is getting close to his first game action since a serious ankle injury in March. He threw 25 pitches Friday in his second batting-practice session at the Yankees' minor-league complex, then said he is "probably a week or two" away from pitching in minor-league games.

"Now it's just going to be continuing to get on the mound with hitters and facing situations where you're down in the count, you're up in the count," he said. "That's kind of the last step."

He threw Friday to players from the Yankees' Gulf Coast League team on a sunny and warm day, unlike his initial BP outing Monday, which was moved to an indoor cage because of heavy rain.

The batters did not swing during Monday's workout, but they did Friday. "It's just nice to be able to see swings and see the reactions," he said. "Even on balls that they know what's coming, I get some swings and misses, which is always good. The spin on my slider, the spin on my curveball are really good."

Chamberlain, who also took part in extensive defensive drills, is scheduled to throw batting practice again Monday in Tampa. He will get the chance to be on the field with his teammates later in the day because the Yankees open a three-game series Monday night against the Rays in St. Petersburg.

"I'll be out there," he said. "I've been away too long. I've got to go see the guys, hang out and run around the field. It's always nice to be able to do that, feel like part of the team."

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Chamberlain dislocated his right ankle bouncing on a trampoline with his son March 22. He was coming back from elbow ligament replacement surgery at the time.

Pedro Feliciano, coming back from left shoulder surgery, had his second bullpen session. The reliever is scheduled to throw off a mound twice next week, which could line him up to throw BP the following week. "It's getting there," he said.

Austin Romine, sidelined by a back injury since early in spring training, is doing catching drills and taking batting practice. He is set to start catching bullpen sessions next week.

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