Cue the James Brown-style funk guitars. Joba Chamberlain threw his first session off a mound this morning and proclaimed himself not only cured, but reborn.
"They fixed what was there, and then Dr. (James) Andrews went ahead and added some extra strength to it,'' Joba said after throwing 16 pitches off the mound following a couple of weeks of throwing off that oddity known as the half-mound. "It''s a new arm, for me, that's how I feel. It''s a new year, and it''s a whole new chapter of what I would like to accomplish here and help this team.''
Joba still has thrown only fastballs -- curves and sliders and anything that spins are still a couple of weeks away -- and he has no idea how fast they are going because the Yankees, wisely are not putting a radar gun on him yet. They are already worried about tempering his enthusiasm to rush his comeback form Tommy John surgery, which he underwent last June and generally takes at least a year to recover from.
Joba, of course, wants to come back tomorrow. He wanted to come back yesterday. If you ask him, he will tell you he could close tonight if necessary. "I can tell you it's not going to be three to four months,'' he said. "Three or four months puts us out a long time. "It's weird because (the ball) comes out of my hand different. Sometimes I blow up Roman (Rodriguez, the bullpen catcher), and he gets kind of mad at me. But I just can't help it. It just happens. I think that's a good sign. It's just coming out a lot more free and easier. I trust myself enough, I trust my arm and my elbow. It's been great for me."''