(A Joba fist pump right now would be the kitty's titties. Courtesy of Audrey Tiernan/MCT)
It would be super mega-awesome if Joba returned to the bullpen (and the mound) this weekend. From a storyline perspective, it wouldn't get much better than having him return at home against the hated, struggling Fraud Sawx, blow them away with some high-90s smoke, and walk off the mound with a triumphant fist pump. The newspapers would eat it up, fans would eat it up, it would provide some much needed positive energy after the Yankees' rough West Coast trip, and it would make it fun to watch the BBTN guys try to spin the story in a way that poo-poo'd the Yankees and made excuses for the Fraud Sawx.
That scenario is highly unlikely to play out, as team officials and coaches still have to watch Joba throw a bullpen session at The Stadium today, evaluate him, and decide if he needs another MiL rehab outing or 2 before setting the plans for his return to the active Major League roster. He made back-to-back 1-inning appearances for High-A Tampa on Tuesday and Wednesday and came through that perfectly fine. It might take just one more of those without setback for him to be declared ready.
Joba's comeback from his injuries has been nothing short of amazing, in my humble opinion. Even after the initial gruesome details of his ankle dislocation were tempered by follow-up reports, I still didn't think there was any way we were going to see him on a mound again this season, at least not in games situations. Not only has he made it back, he's made it back with gusto, consistently flashing the same type of upper-90s heat that made him an instant superstar when he first debuted in '07 while allowing just 1 ER, 1 BB, and striking out 7 over 8.0 IP. He's done it all against low-level A-ball competition, but with that kind of heat Joba would still be a welcome addition back in the Yankee bullpen. If all goes well this weekend, we could be making that welcome back official by this time next week.