Joba Chamberlain made his first appearance of the year in Yankee Stadium Friday night — but only in the clubhouse. The right-handed reliever was back with the team for the first time since suffering an open dislocation of his right ankle in spring training.

Chamberlain wore a boot on his right foot and looked much thinner than when he left the team last season to have Tommy John surgery.

"I'm awesome, everything's gone well. I've been able to get out and it's fun to come see the guys and be able to go out and play catch," Chamberlain said. "It's pretty exciting. I had butterflies just walking in, it's been a while since I've been here."

Chamberlain said he had just begun playing catch again, but even after suffering the ankle injury, he continued to rehab his elbow.

"My arm feels better than it ever has," Chamberlain said.

There is no timetable for his return to the bullpen, which is still months away.

"I try to take it one step at a time. You don't want him to rush and end up hurting something else. That's the key," Joe Girardi said. "The ankle is healing well. We're very pleased with the progress he's making. I'm not putting a date on him because I don't want him to feel the pressure of that. If we get him back this year, it's a plus."

In the meantime, Chamberlain, who was generously listed at 250 pounds in the Yankee media guide, has focused on trimming down.