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Yanks reliever Chamberlain to undergo Tommy John surgery

CBSSports.com wire reports
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NEW YORK -- Yankees reliever Joba Chamberlain is scheduled to have season-ending Tommy John surgery on his pitching elbow next week.

Chamberlain has a torn ligament in his right elbow and is expected to be sidelined for at least a year. Noted orthopedist Dr. James Andrews will perform the procedure Thursday in Pensacola, Fla.

"It's easy to deal with. I know I'm going to get better, and it's not life or death," Chamberlain said. "I'm just happy that I can fix it and come back and be stronger for it and hopefully have a long career."

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In other injury news affecting the Yankees, catcher Russell Martin was out of the lineup for the third straight game Friday night against Cleveland because of a stiff back. Francisco Cervelli was behind the plate, and Martin said there's a "good chance" he'll be ready to play Sunday.

"That's what we're hoping," he said.

Martin had an MRI on Thursday and the results were negative. He said his back was feeling better and he plans to hit and throw Saturday.

"Still a little bit of discomfort, but compared to the first couple days, it's night and day," Martin said.

With his No. 1 catcher out, Yankees manager Joe Girardi said designated hitter Jorge Posada could move behind the plate in a pinch. Posada spent the past 14 years catching for New York, but lost that job after last season.

"If we're using him, as I said, it'll be an emergency situation," Girardi said. "My hope is he hasn't forgotten."

A test Thursday morning revealed Chamberlain's ligament tear. That came one day after the Yankees put the right-hander on the disabled list with a stiff elbow, the latest setback for their injury-depleted bullpen.

Looking for help, New York selected the contract of right-hander Kevin Whelan from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre before Friday's game and optioned outfielder Chris Dickerson to its top farm club.

To make room for Whelan on the 40-man roster, Chamberlain was transferred from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day DL.

Chamberlain and the Yankees said they had no idea his injury was so severe when he went for the additional checkup Thursday. The team sent reports to Andrews, discussed the situation with him and surgery was scheduled.

The recovery time for elbow ligament replacement surgery, often referred to as Tommy John surgery in reference to the first patient, is usually listed as 12 to 18 months.

"This is a surgery that a lot of people have, that people understand that you know you can come back from this," Chamberlain said. "Surgery is just one-third of it. The rehab is two-thirds of what's going on. So that is an important part and the most important part. Obviously, the guy doing it I think has done it a few times, so I'm pretty confident that he'll do a good job. But the rest lies on me and making sure that I get back to where I can be and even stronger."

Chamberlain said he has spoken with Yankees pitcher A.J. Burnett and others who have had the operation about the long rehab ahead and what to expect.

"Every case is different," he said. "Everybody's body reacts different and everybody handles it different."

The 25-year-old Chamberlain is 2-0 with a 2.83 ERA in 27 games. The Yankees also are missing setup man Rafael Soriano, out with inflammation in his right elbow, and lefty specialist Pedro Feliciano, who has not pitched this year because of a tear in his shoulder.

Chamberlain's father, Harlan, sat in his wheelchair outside the Yankees dugout during batting practice again Friday. The pitcher said his dad was scheduled to be in town until next week.

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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