OAKLAND, Calif. -- The next step in Joba Chamberlain's rehab -- and most significant one -- probably will come this week.

The reliever is scheduled to throw a side session today and, if he continues to feel well, likely will pitch in what would be his fifth rehab game Tuesday. He could be sent back out Wednesday, marking the first time he would have gone back-to-back in his rehab.

For Chamberlain, who allowed one earned run and two hits in a two-inning start Friday night, making back-to-back appearances is among the last hurdles to be cleared before he rejoins the Yankees.

The Yankees' original time frame, once Chamberlain started pitching in games, was an early August return but general manager Brian Cashman hasn't ruled out it coming before that.

"Everything's went pretty smoothly," Joe Girardi said of the recovery to this point. "He threw 32 pitches [Friday], used all his pitches. I don't see how it really could have gone any better."


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Haunted by Cespedes

The Yankees scouted Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes before he was declared a free agent last offseason and were in on the bidding. But the A's signed him to a four-year, $36-million contract. Cespedes, 26, entered yesterday hitting .304 with 12 homers and 44 RBIs in 61 games. He was 6-for-8, including a homer in the first two games of this series.

"He's strong, he's fast, you can see he's got bat speed," Girardi said.


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Bartolo Colon is turning back the clock again, bringing a 6-8 record -- but a 3.89 ERA -- for the A's into today's start against CC Sabathia.

"We saw him do it last year for us," Girardi said of Colon, who went 8-10 with a 4.00 ERA last season for the Yankees. "He's one of those guys, he's not going to walk people. He's coming right at you, [saying] here it is, I'm going to locate it down and away with movement and if you can do something with it, do something with it. I'm not surprised."