Nice bruise tattoo.
"Nobody wants to have surgery," said Chamberlain, while struggling to pour a garlic butter container on a slice of pizza with his left hand. "But if you have to have one, Papa John's surgery is the one you want to get. I hope to be back and eating more than ever very soon."
A MRI this week showed that Chamberlain has a tear in a ligament in his right elbow. Team doctors believe it's due to a strain on the joint from the weight and quantity of food he shoves into his mouth with his right hand.
"I've seen a lot of MRIs in my day, and his was not typical," said Yankees team physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad. "The tear was not the kind that comes from throwing a baseball. Actually, the only similar MRI was one I saw when I was thinking of becoming a veterinarian. An overweight elephant had a tear like Joba's in its trunk."
The Yankees initially considered trying an arthroscopic procedure, but felt that could only make the problem worse.
"Due to Joba's diet, his joints are cushioned by a thick, cheesy, garlic butter substance," said Dr. Ahmad. "It's not a healthy diet, but it's actually not a bad joint lubricator. And we don't want that to drain out."
Maybe he could be productive on the Disney company softball team.
Joba Chamberlain burst onto the scene likehot, flat-brimmed lava. But after a failed tour as a starter and a sub-parreturn to the bullpen, it appears Chamberlain’s status as liquid-hot phenomhas cooled and hardened into an igneous career as a middle reliever.
In an attempt to restore what once was Yankees’ Senior Vice President andGeneral Manager, Brian Cashman, made the decision to bring back the “JobaRules,” protective guidelines set to prevent the hard-throwing righty fromgetting injured early in his career. The Yankee front office drew a lot ofcriticism when they enacted the “rules” in 2007, but according to Cashman,all the jokes and disparagement is far less painful than watching a onceprized prospect slip deeper and deeper into mediocrity. “The biggest regretof my career is revoking the ‘Joba Rules.’ Well, besides making him astarting pitcher… and signing Kei Igawa” said Cashman.
To celebrate the reinstatement of the “Joba Rules,” a team trip to Hawaiiwas booked for a renewal ceremony during an off day of their West Coast roadtrip. The private ceremony, whose guest list boasted such Yankee legends asYogi Berra and Randy Velarde, was hosted on a beautiful white-sand beachjust south of Honolulu. Under the guidance of newly ordained minister, DerekJeter, Chamberlain and Cashman exchanged the newly penned rules in front ofthe exclusive audience. Cashman, who read his rules on behalf of the entire
Yankees organization, couldn’t help but get emotional during the hour-longceremony, which was capped by a Chamberlain fist pump and Frank SinatraJr.’s rendition of “New York, New York.” “For the most part, I try not tolet my emotions get to me, but when Joba looked me in the eyes and flashedme one of those reassuring, Cornhusker smiles, I just couldn’t help myself”said the teary-eyed GM. “You know, I’m glad I finally listened to my wife,”he added, “the Hawaiian vow renewal ceremony really was a good idea."
The players in attendance agreed wholeheartedly. Curtis Granderson, who isin his first season with the Yankees, said “[the ceremony] was the mostbeautiful thing I’ve ever seen. The closest thing we ever did to this in
Detroit was pretend wedding for [Justin] Verlander and [Magglio] Ordonez’sdogs, it was really cute.” For members of the organization who couldn’t makeit, a DVD of the ceremony’s Yankeeography was sent to team headquarters inTampa, Florida.
While the exact terms of the Chamberlain-Yankee agreement were meant to bekept private, an inside source says the new rules are highlighted by a 100inning season limit, no alcohol before day game clause, and mandatory TacoTuesdays.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi and general manager Brian Cashman say they have agreed upon a regimen for former phenom Joba Chamberlain that will enable him to keep building up his arm strength.
"It's similar to how we have handled Joba before when we were trying to make him into a starter," Girardi said of his setup man, who has a 5.82 ERA on the season. "Only now, instead of increasing his stamina so he can throw 100-plus pitches, we're building it up for eight-hour shifts of manual labor, like picking up boxes and carrying around two-by-fours."
Cashman says that preparing Chamberlain for employment following his bust of a major league career is evidence of what a class organization the Yankees are.
"We treat everyone like family," he said. "Do you think Bernie Williams just picked up the classical guitar? Right. Like professional athletes are interested in things. No, what happened was in 2003, Joe Torre saw someone blow a 86 mph fastball past Bernie and, that very night, signed him up for guitar lessons."
While that led to Williams' post-baseball musical career, other such efforts have not proven to be as fruitful. The Yankees tried to train Hideki Irabu to be a competitive eater, "but he wouldn't enter any contests that weren't for soup," said Cashman. "He said chewing made him too tired."
With it now obvious that Chamberlain will never live up to the hype that surrounded his call up to the major leagues back in 2007, the Yankees assume he'll be out of baseball and back in Nebraska before long.
"But we want Joba to know that there is still hope for him," says Girardi. "With hard work, maybe he won't end up in a construction job. Maybe he could be a steamfitter. They actually make pretty good money, you know."