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Joba Chamberlain plans to pitch in 2012

New York Yankees relief pitcher Joba Chamberlain gets

New York Yankees relief pitcher Joba Chamberlain gets emotional as he speaks about his relationship with his son, during a news conference in Tampa, Fla. (March 27, 2012) Photo Credit: AP

Joba Chamberlain reiterated Friday what he said just days after suffering his gruesome ankle injury March 22: He expects to pitch for the Yankees in 2012.

"It's going to take a lot of things to keep me from doing that," he said. "But you have to be patient and understand it's a process."

"I think it's possible," Joe Girardi said.

Chamberlain, 26, still recovering from the open dislocation of his right ankle he suffered in a trampoline accident, spoke to reporters for the first time since March 27 at Steinbrenner Field. Chamberlain, evaluated by team physician Christopher Ahmad on Thursday, had his cast removed last week.

When the injury occurred, Chamberlain was ahead of schedule in his rehab from Tommy John surgery. He's been throwing from a stool, making 50 throws Friday.

"I never really stopped my elbow rehab. The only thing I stopped was throwing bullpens," Chamberlain said. "As far as my shoulder program and playing catch, I didn't stop anything . . . My arm's never felt better."

As for the ankle, Chamberlain said "I've had no pain," but he joked that it's been "left foot, right foot" in learning to walk again after having the cast removed.

Looking in shape though noticeably slimmer -- "more than a couple, I can tell you that much," he said -- Chamberlain was happy to be back in the clubhouse. And happy that he was able to be at the Garden on Thursday night for the Rangers' Game 7 win over the Senators. "It was awesome," he said.

Extra basesGirardi said Andy Pettitte will start Monday for Trenton and hopes to throw about 95 pitches . . . Brett Gardner, on the DL since April 18 with a right elbow strain, bunted before Friday night's game.

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