David Aardsma: the anti-Joba

February, 28, 2012
David Aardsma showed up in camp today and the Yankees newest bullpen addition, who underwent Tommy John surgery a month after Joba Chamberlain, could not be approaching his rehab differently.

While Joba is literally bursting the reins to get back on the mound -- he threw 16 pitches this morning and declared himself ready to go -- Aardsma is adopting a more cautious approach to his rehab.

"I'm eager to let loose, but I understand the time aspect,'' said Aardsman, who saved 69 games in two seasons for the Mariners before losing the 2011 season to hip and elbow injuries. "I understand you need to take your time because if you push too hard a lot of guys just end up doing it again. And we got time, we got a bullpen here who can handle themselves. It’s not like I need to get back as soon as I can.''

Aardsma's rehab is behind Joba's -- he has yet to throw off a mound, or even a half-mound, so far being limited to tosses of about 90 feet -- and he is currently on the 60-day disabled list and not expected to pitch until at least August if at all this season. The Yankees signed him to a one-year deal worth $500,000 with a club option for 2013 if he makes it back.

Aardsma said he had interest from a lot of other teams, but only the Yankees were willing to sign him now, virtually sight unseen and with little knowledge of the details of his rehab.

"They all said, 'Keep us informed but wait until the end of March when we figure out our rosters,''' he said. "In fact, like 29 teams pretty much said that. But the Yankees were in the forefront, they said, 'Hey, we want to get this thing done. We want you in camp. We got a deal that will stop you from talking to any other teams.'''

Asked when he expected to pitch again, Aardsma said, "Well, I feel like if I’m healthy, I can help this team,'' he said. "So my focus is to get healthy first, and then get out there and pitch and do well. So if it’s this year, or if it’s next year, great. At least I know tha when it happens I’ll be ready.''
Wallace Matthews has covered New York sports since 1983 as a reporter, columnist, radio host and TV commentator. He covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com after working for Newsday, the New York Post, the New York Sun and ESPN New York 98.7 FM.
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