NEW YORK -- Normal
isn't a word that anyone would use to describe Joba Chamberlain's first six seasons with the Yankees, which may be why the right-hander is looking forward to a spring that might finally feel like business as usual.
After completing a season that included rehabbing from both Tommy John surgery and an open ankle dislocation, an injury sustained in a preseason trampoline mishap, Chamberlain hopes he will be able to contribute with much less drama next year.
"It's an opportunity to build on how I finished," said Chamberlain, who went 1-0 with a 4.35 ERA in 22 relief appearances after joining the Yankees in late July. "To know it's still there and I've still got the ability to do that, I'm just looking forward to just going out there and not having to worry about anything."
Chamberlain was at Yankee Stadium on Thursday afternoon, helping the team with its ongoing relief efforts following Hurricane Sandy. Donations continue to be accepted, 24 hours a day, inside Gate 2 at 164th Street and Jerome Avenue.
Chamberlain flew to New York after watching the storm's devastation on television at home in Nebraska, admitting that he panicked when he was unable to reach friends. He also volunteered his time to answer telephones at an American Red Cross telethon.
"You could see the pictures, but I didn't really know what it was until I got here," he said. "The pictures are scary, but when you actually get here and hear the stories, it puts it all in perspective."
Chamberlain will wait a few more weeks before resuming baseball exercises, but he has been riding a stationary bike and performing shoulder exercises -- offseason workouts that can be a little more regular because he is no longer coming off an injury.
"I've really been going for almost two years straight, rehabbing and getting going," he said. "I'm just kind of being a dad now. I think that's more of a workout."
Chamberlain hasn't been keeping a close eye on the Hot Stove chatter about bullpen mates Mariano Rivera and Rafael Soriano, though he believes the Yankees will be fine no matter how negotiations shake out.
"Mo could pitch until he's 74 if he really wanted to," Chamberlain said. "That's just the way he is. What it comes down to with Mo is family, because that's more important to him than anything."
Rivera has told general manager Brian Cashman that he wants to pitch in 2013, and a new contract to return to the Bronx at age 43 could be little more than an expensive formality.
That's probably not the case with Soriano, who opted out after securing 42 saves in 46 chances this year. The Yankees extended him a one-year, $13.3 million qualifying offer, along with identical offers for Hiroki Kuroda and Nick Swisher, but it's likely that Soriano will seek a multiyear deal instead.
"If he's gone, he's gone," Chamberlain said. "You can't look at it like, 'What if he isn't here?' You didn't look at it like, 'What if Mo wasn't here?' Sori stepped in and did a great job.
"If Sori leaves, then somebody's got to step in and do the job. We all know what that job is, and we've got a lot of guys that are capable of doing it. To be able to know that you're one of those guys is an honor."