Joba asked for Tommy John surgery after doc said it was unnecessary

The Yankees and 2013's Major Awards
It took 145 games, but the Yankees finally have a decent shortstop

Via George King: Joba Chamberlain asked for Tommy John surgery two years ago even though Dr. James Andrews said the procedure was not necessary. “I could turn a doorknob and rub my head and people said I couldn’t do that [with a torn ligament]. [Andrews] said he didn’t operate on healthy arms … For me it was a matter of getting it done and knowing it was fixed,” he said.

Chamberlain, 27, was originally diagnosed with a strained flexor tendon and then a torn medial ligament, which is different that the ulnar collateral ligament repaired by Tommy John surgery. He said he played long-toss and felt soreness after being told he didn’t need his elbow reconstructed, which is when he decided to go ahead with the procedure. Usually guys try to avoid surgery at all costs — most notably Matt Harvey right now — but I guess Joba felt it was inevitable and wanted to get it out of the way as soon as possible.

In 62.1 innings since returning from surgery last August, Joba has a 4.33 ERA and 4.81 FIP. He had a 3.95 ERA and 3.14 FIP in 100.1 innings from 2010-2011 after moving back into the bullpen and before having his elbow rebuilt.

The Yankees and 2013's Major Awards
It took 145 games, but the Yankees finally have a decent shortstop
  • Robinson Tilapia

    The comments here should be interesting. There’s always that contingent on here that cries out for why the most invasive procedure wasn’t done first every time someone chooses rehab before surgery. Let’s see where the chips fall with Joba.

    I can’t imagine there are many subjects, other than Funions, in which Joba Chamberlain knows more than Dr. James Andrews.

    • BFDeal

      Thanks for making me crave Funions.

      • jjyank

        Dude! I haven’t had Funions in years. Now I must have some.

      • Winter
        • BFDeal

          I didn’t think “Funions” looked right.

          • Robinson Tilapia

            It’s been a while. Only high rollers over here.

    • Yankee Fan 1


    • Mandy Stankiewicz

      “…other than Funions”
      Ahahah! +1

  • Slu

    Nobody ever accused Joba of being the sharpest knife in the drawer, but this story is something else. In my opinion, surgery should always be a last resort. But it really doesn’t matter anyway as Joba is almost out the door and I will be glad when I don’t have to hear stories like this again.

    • Preston

      I think him being out the door means there will be more stories like this. The first few months he’s with another team all he will do is Yankee bash.

      • The Big City of Dreams

        Yea this is just the first story that will come out and there will be more. But I don’t think he’ll bash the team.

  • Benjamin Kabak

    Just 11 more games of having to deal with Joba, failed expectations and his own medical diagnoses. Good riddance.

    I’m not sure what to do with my 62 Chamberlain t-shirt though.

    • jjyank

      Well…I suppose you could always eat it :P

    • I’m One

      How many people are still holding on to Joba Rules t-shirts? Maybe a burning party is in order?

      • Winter

        Look at that timing. Mine may be hidden in the deepest drawer I own, but if I can find it I’ll burn it.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        Keep it. Wear it ironically in a few years.

    • Winter

      Just a 62 Chamberlain shirt? I have one that has “Joba Rules” emblazoned across the front. It’s mortifying.

      • hogsmog

        “Got Melk”?


        • Robinson Tilapia

          We definitely still have a Melky #28 shirt in our possession. I think we’ve got Melky, Matsui, and Tex. I usually just wear non-number tees to games.

          • trr

            It’s always better to wear a retired number.
            …but i wonder how many #42’s are gonna be at the Stadium Sunday?

            • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

              At least two(Mo+this guy).

            • Robinson Tilapia

              Absolutely agree.

    • NeilT

      You’ll have a room that needs painting soon enough. Or a dog that needs something to line his basket. That kind of thing.

    • BFDeal

      Maybe the Sox will build a new stadium and you can bury it under the foundation.

      • I’m One

        I vote for this course of action if it happens before a burning party is arranged!

      • Robinson Tilapia

        Give this man a prize.

    • ropeadope

      Tell everyone it’s a 1962 Wilt Chamberlain t-shirt and wear it PROUDLY!

    • Robinson Tilapia

      “Things I’d never tell my Second Ave. Sagas readers.”

  • Mike in EV

    What happens to a player like Joba or Logan or anyone else if they need Tommy John surgery just before becoming free agents?

    Joba got it out of the way early in a low-pay year, and Logan seems to just need his elbow cleaned out, but if either had snapped a UCL in August of this year (their last of team control), would they be cut at the end of the season or is that frowned upon by the union?

    If allowed to be cut loose at the end of this season, they’d have no pay or medical coverage in 2014 and would be looking for minor league contracts in 2015.

    If Joba’s full diagnosis said his UCL was weak, then maybe he did make the smart choice.

    • pat

      IIRC once you play a game in MLB you get health coverage for life. I’d imagine an operation of that sort would be covered.

    • Mike Axisa

      The CBA says the team you were playing for while you got hurt is responsible for your medical care/rehab until you sign with a new team or are declared healthy. So if Logan winds up having TJS and missing all of 2014, the Yankees still have to take care of him, let him use their facilities for rehab, etc.

      • Mike in EV

        Thanks Mike.

        Putting aside healthcare coverage, what about the pay argument?

        Is it better to get surgery out of the way while still in your first 6 years? If Joba had snapped his UCL in August, I don’t think he’d be looking at any salary in 2014 and either a minor league contract or minimum major league contract for 2015.

        Joba hasn’t covered himself in glory the past couple years, but he will get a major league contract for next season as a potential change of scenery lottery ticket.

        • Laz

          But on the other hand what kind of pay will he get next year. he would have been better off being servicable this year, and then getting a few year deal.

  • Darren

    After that little dust-up with Mo, I’m not the biggest fan of Joba, but there’s absolutely nothing you can take from this article. Certainly not that Joba went against medical advice, or did something selfish. He obviously felt that he needed the surgery and ultimately, Dr. Andrews agreed.

    The quote about not operating on a healthy arm was likely made before the soreness and probably an additional exam that showed the arm, was, in fact, not a healthy arm.

    But this is a good way to generate more bad feelings about someone who’s out the door anyway.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Oh, this is as much net gossip as any other story you’d encounter. It’s just a good one to have some fun with.

  • Eddard

    Joba Chamberlain is the epitome of the failure known as the Yankee farm system. All we heard was how good this kid was. He was a gem and for one season he was but then they screwed around with him, starter to reliever to starter back to reliever. Did the same with Phil Hughes. Shipped Jesus Montero off and he was so ill prepared for the majors that Seattle sent him down to AAA. Those are your top 3 Yankee prospects over the last decade, folks. If you want to throw Austin Jackson in there, he’s the only one that panned out and what did they do? Traded him away and lost an outstanding CF for the next decade.

    • Mister D

      Brett Gardner = Outstanding

      • Wolfgang’s Fault

        Overreaching much? He’s a good ballplayer, but that’s it.

      • qwerty

        He’s very good, but fans made it seem like Gardner was going to translate his left field fielding stats directly to center and that just wasn’t going to happen. A centerfielder playing left field will always have bloated fielding statistics due to his range when compared to other left fielders. I knew he would be way better than Granderson, but he’s hardly what you would call outstanding.

  • dkidd

    via george king: joba asked for third helping of mashed potatoes after waiter said it was unnecessary

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Joba only dates women with three first names.

    • trr


    • I’m One

      That third helping was the cause of his elbow issues.

    • Mike M


  • Yankee68

    What do you do with his autograph? He signed, with his left hand, my son ball and my hat. Of course you can’t read the signature probably because he is right handed anyway.

  • the Other Steve S.

    He should have insisted on lipo-suction instead.

    • BFDeal

      So Joba can’t pitch because he’s too fat and CC can’t because he’s not fat enough? Maybe they should do a fat transplant before Joba leaves.