Seattle Mariners closer David Aardsma pitches in the ninth inning...

Seattle Mariners closer David Aardsma pitches in the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers. (Sept. 17, 2010) Credit: AP

TAMPA, Fla. -- David Aardsma had an impressive finish to his second minor-league rehab appearance.

The Yankees reliever, coming back from Tommy John surgery, struck out his final three batters in completing two scoreless innings in a Gulf Coast League game Saturday.

"I'm very happy with the second inning," Aardsma said. "That was going to be the big question for me, throwing that second inning. I felt the ball was still coming out good and I was able to control my pitches. That's all you want."

Aardsma threw a shutout inning during a GCL game Tuesday in his first outing since elbow ligament replacement surgery last July. On Saturday, the 30-year-old righthander threw 24 of 31 pitches for strikes, with his fastball reaching the low 90s.

"Absolutely, another step forward," said Aardsma, who gave up two singles to Philadelphia Phillies minor-leaguers. "I'm very happy with it."

Aardsma said it has not been determined when or where he will make his next appearance.

Signed to a one-year, $500,000 contract during spring training with a club option for 2013, Aardsma could provide another power arm out of the bullpen next month. The former Seattle closer had 69 saves for the Mariners in 2009-10.

Aardsma is not the only relief pitcher making progress toward providing added depth this year. Joba Chamberlain remains scheduled to throw live batting practice Monday for the first time since suffering an open dislocation of his right ankle March 22.

Chamberlain, who suffered the injury while bouncing on a trampoline with his son, also is set to have his second BP session Friday. He was coming back from elbow ligament replacement surgery at the time of the ankle injury.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi and pitching coach Larry Rothschild should get a firsthand look at Chamberlain's progress in about a week.

The righthander could work out with the team when the Yankees play a three-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays on July 2-4 in St. Petersburg. A third BP session for Chamberlain would line up during the Yankees' trip to Florida.

Chamberlain worked out Saturday at the Yankees' minor-league complex.

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