new york – The bullpen door swung open, and Joba Chamberlain stopped to take in the scene. For the first time in 14 months, he was headed back to a major league mound.
“You’re heart gets racing again, just to know that door’s opening, your name is called and you’re going to pitch,” he said. “It was something that I will remember for the rest of my life.’”
Chamberlain returned from elbow and ankle injuries that had sidelined him since June 5 last season and the Yankees revived a bit, too, routing the Baltimore Orioles, 12-3, to stop a four-game losing streak that tied their season high.
With Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor on hand and sitting with the Bleacher Creatures at the start, Robinson Cano hit a grand slam in a seven-run third inning, Derek Jeter had three hits and three RBI on a rainy afternoon, and Phil Hughes (11-8) pitched homerless ball for only the fifth time this year.
A night after wasting a five-run, first-inning lead in an 11-5 defeat, New York gave Zach Britton another shellacking at Yankee Stadium, won for just the fourth time in 13 games and restored a 61/2-game lead in the American League East rather than have Baltimore creep within 41/2.
Chamberlain had pitched eight scoreless outings before going on the disabled list with a sore elbow last June, which an MRI revealed as a torn ligament. He appeared to be close to returning before dislocating his right ankle during spring training while playing with his son on a trampoline.
Chamberlain entered to a big ovation, and started J.J. Hardy with a called strike, then gave up a home run that went just over the glove of left fielder Ichiro Suzuki. Chamberlain threw 28 pitches, allowing two runs, a walk, four hits in 12/3 innings.