In his first public comments since suffering a gruesome ankle injury jumping on trampolines with his son, a tearful Joba Chamberlain said Tuesday he felt he let the Yankees down — but insisted there was nothing reckless about what he did, and would not apologize for what he called "being a father."
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"I’m never going to look at anything I do with my son as reckless," Chamberlain said. "Obviously I’m not going to skydive with my son, but when it comes along these lines, you could look at anything — throwing him around in the pool, just little things you’ve done. There’s a certain element of accidents in everyday life."
Chamberlain was already sidelined recovering from Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery, but this freak injury threatens to keep him out far longer.
"I feel like I let my team down to be perfectly honest with you, and that’s the most frustrating part," Chamberlain said.
"But when I look back and realize what was going on, I will never question being a father," he added, tearing up and taking 30 seconds to compose himself.
Chamberlain, 26, said he expects to pitch again this season, and downplayed the severity of the injury.
"It’s one of those things that bothers me — people were asking me if it was life threatening or if I was going to lose my foot. There was no bone even out of my ankle," Chamberlain said.
Chamberlain gave additional details of how the injury occurred. He and his son, Karter, went to a Tampa trampoline facility, where they were the only two jumping at the time. They were jumping from trampoline to trampoline when Chamberlain landed awkwardly.
General manager Brian Cashman said the injury was an open dislocation of the subtalar joint, and that the wound was open. He also pointedly declined to answer whether the Yankees were unhappy with Chamberlain’s actions — or whether they could release him as a result.
"Should better judgment put yourself in a position to avoid that? I don’t want to deal with that at this stage. Doesn’t mean our rights aren’t what our rights are. I’m not waiving those. But I’m choosing not to pile on to someone who’s dealing with a great deal right now. That’s all," Cashman said.
Chamberlain will remain in the cast for at least six weeks, and then move on to a walking boot.
”His spirits seem to be picking up a little bit,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi told The Associated Press. ”He’s extremely disappointed. He had said to me, `I felt I kind of let you down.’ I just said, ‘Hey, we’re going to get you back out there.’ My heart still goes out to him because of what he’s went through the last 10 months and how hard he’s worked. Sometimes you can learn a lot about yourself from things like is.”
— The Associated Press contributed to this report.