NEW YORK – First midges, now a bat.
Even a trampoline injury.
Joba Chamberlain finds himself in some unusual situations.
"I don't know if I'd hang out with me very much. I might need a bubble," Chamberlain said.
Chamberlain was knocked out of Game 4 of the AL division series on Thursday night when the barrel of Matt Wieters' broken bat hit him on the right elbow in the 12th inning. The Baltimore Orioles went on to a 2-1 victory that forced a decisive Game 5 on Friday night, getting the go-ahead run on 13th-inning doubles by Manny Machado and J.J. Hardy against David Phelps.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi won't know until Friday whether his bullpen will include Chamberlain, who has had enough mound misfortunes to fill a horror film.
He was just another normal, hard-throwing young gun before Game 2 of the 2007 division series. Then midges swarmed him on the mound in Cleveland and, with those bugs all around, he threw a tying wild pitch in a game the Indians went on to win 2-1 in 11 innings for a 2-0 series lead.
A torn elbow ligament sidelined him in June 2011, and he was close to his return during spring training when he dislocated his right ankle in a trampoline accident while playing with his son. He finally returned on Aug. 1 — against the Orioles — and developed back into a dependable part of the Yankees' bullpen.
Wieters led off the 12th with a single to left field, and a large piece of his bat went twirling toward the mound and hit Chamberlain's surgically repaired pitching elbow. Chamberlain threw down his glove and bent over in pain.
After he was checked out by trainer Steve Donahue, Chamberlain threw three test pitches and came out, New York concerned about swelling. The Yankees said his elbow was bruised and X-rays were negative.
"You kind of see how it feels tomorrow and go from there," Chamberlain said. "It's definitely not as stiff as it was when it first happened."