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Joba, Giese inch closer to return

Joba, Giese inch closer to return

BALTIMORE -- The Yankees' rotation has seen its fair share of ups and downs this season, finding very few pitchers who have been able to avert injury or be effective enough to consistently take the ball every fifth day.

The team has had to turn to oft-injured right-hander Carl Pavano on Saturday, having deemed him to be closer to Major League-readiness than Phil Hughes who is on the disabled list and continues to rehab from a rib-cage stress fracture.

But the Yankees are on the verge of seeing Dan Giese and Joba Chamberlain back on the active roster.

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Giese, who was put on the DL on Aug. 15 with right rotator cuff tendinitis, made 30 throws from 60 feet prior to Friday's game with the Orioles. An MRI on Giese's right shoulder showed some shoulder inflammation, but the righty said that his labrum and rotator cuff did not look injured on the MRI.

"It's been frustrating," Giese said. "But it's better to nip it in the bud now and get back 100 percent. Tomorrow, we'll increase the distance and throws."

Joining Giese on Saturday will be Chamberlain, who will complete his second throwing session since going on the disabled list on Aug. 4 with a bout of right rotator cuff tendinitis of his own. Chamberlain will throw 30 fastballs and changeups on Saturday in Baltimore, according to manager Joe Girardi, and the Yankees have not yet decided the course of action with Chamberlain from there.

"I think he understands what's at stake, and that you have to be smart about it and you have to make sure that you're healthy before you get back on the mound," Girardi said.

They will be looking for Chamberlain to complete the session without pain or stiffness. If the flamethrower returns to the Yankees' active roster, the role for Chamberlain yet to be decided. Chamberlain starred as a reliever last season, but was converted to a starter this season, going 4-3 with a 2.63 ERA in 12 starts.

"Obviously we've always thought of him as a starter, and that's how I still think of him," Girardi said. "The thing is that there's not a lot of time to build [him] up, so we might have to be creative how we build him up. We haven't gotten much past Saturday, because now, at this point, you just take it day by day. ... We're not exactly sure how we're going to do it. We're just going to make sure he's healthy and try to get him back to where he can be successful."

Amanda Comak is an associate reporter for MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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