NEW YORK -- Joba Chamberlain is scheduled to make his next Minor League rehabilitation appearance on Sunday for the Double-A Trenton Thunder, and his move to the Northeast has brightened the right-hander's optimism that a big league return is not far off.

Chamberlain threw a bullpen session on Friday at Yankee Stadium in front of the Yankees' coaching staff and said he may enter in mid-inning when he pitches against the Harrisburg Senators at Trenton's Waterfront Park. Chamberlain said he has been clocked between 94 and 100 mph in his rehab appearances and feels close to joining New York's bullpen.

"I never had any doubt whatsoever," Chamberlain said. "Obviously the surgery is only a third of it; the rehab is two-thirds. I've never been one to shy away from hard work and prove people wrong. It's going to be awesome to put this uniform on again and pitch for this team."

Chamberlain is returning from Tommy John surgery performed last June and an open dislocation of his right ankle suffered this spring. He has allowed one earned run and three hits over eight Minor League innings (1.12 ERA) spanning six games -- three with the Gulf Coast Yankees and three with Class A Tampa. The 26-year-old has walked one and struck out seven.

"I got challenged every day," Chamberlain said. "They never gave me more than two weeks in advance, because they knew if they gave me more, I'd probably try to skip a week. I know how my body is; I know how to push myself. My ankle is strong, and I've got to continue to work and not let up on anything we've done to this point."

Swisher sits again, available to pinch-hit

NEW YORK -- Nick Swisher, who participated in batting practice and ran the bases before Friday night's series opener vs. the Red Sox, was out of the Yankees' starting lineup but was available as a pinch-hitter, said manager Joe Girardi.

Girardi hadn't received the test results on Swisher's mild left hip flexor strain from head athletic trainer Steve Donohue before his pregame news conference, but the skipper said he's had conversations about the outfielder returning to action Saturday vs. the Red Sox.

"I think a lot of it depends on how he feels tomorrow," Girardi said.

The Yankees don't want to rush Swisher back before he's completely healed to avoid the possibility of another strain. Girardi said he didn't think the organization was being too cautious with the injury, and Swisher is not ready to come back in a complete role just yet.

"We're making sure he's as close to 100 percent as possible," Girardi said. "When you have slight strains, you have to make sure that you don't necessarily have a setback."

Swisher will play in his regular position in right field when he returns. Friday's starting right fielder, recently acquired outfielder Ichiro Suzuki, will move to left field, allowing the 40-year-old Raul Ibanez to be used more as a designated hitter -- the role he was initially signed to fill in the offseason.

Swisher's return will also provide some balance to the Yankees' new-look lineup, with Suzuki playing regularly in the outfield and Jayson Nix and Eric Chavez filling in for Alex Rodriguez while he recovers from a fractured left hand.

"He's a guy that's a switch-hitter that you can put between two lefties, and it helps you out a little bit," Girardi said of Swisher. "We're kind of missing that."

Swisher has been out of action since he came up hobbling while running to first base on a groundout on July 20.

Chavez dealing with sore ankle after getting plunked

NEW YORK -- Third baseman Eric Chavez is being considered day to day after his right ankle stiffened following a hit-by-pitch in Friday's 10-3 victory over the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium.

Chavez was drilled in the eighth inning by Red Sox reliever Mark Melancon and fell to the ground before remaining in the game to run the bases, but he was replaced by Jayson Nix at third base for the top of the ninth inning.

X-rays were negative, Chavez said, and he left the stadium wearing a tight wrap. He said Melancon's 92-mph cutter hit him in the top part of his ankle.

"It's fine. It's a lot better than it looks like," Chavez said. "It's just a bruise that got me in a good spot and made it tough for me to walk. They just put the wrap on there to make sure it didn't swell up going to my foot."

The Yankees are already short-handed at third base after Alex Rodriguez broke his left hand on Tuesday in Seattle. Nix will likely start at third base on Saturday against left-hander Jon Lester, and Chavez wasn't sure if he'd be available to pinch-hit if needed.

"I don't know. I'll just come in tomorrow and see how it feels," he said.

Bombers bits

• Alex Rodriguez, who turned 37 on Friday, will undergo another X-ray on his left hand in New York, according to manager Joe Girardi. There is no timetable for the third baseman to return, and it will depend on how quickly the non-displaced fracture on the fifth metacarpal in his left hand can heal. The initial diagnosis was that A-Rod could miss six to eight weeks, after Felix Hernandez hit him with an 88-mph fastball.

• The Olympics began Friday in London, and infielder Jayson Nix is the owner of a bronze medal as a member of the U.S. Olympic baseball team in 2008 in Beijing.

• On this date in 1988, Tommy John committed three errors on a single play in the fourth inning of a 16-3 Yankees win against Milwaukee. The left-hander, who has 288 career victories but is more well known for the surgery named after him to repair a damaged elbow ligament, committed an error on a ground ball hit by Jeffrey Leonard, then made two throwing errors. He pitched eight innings and allowed three runs -- two earned -- in his eighth win of the season.