For once, a pitcher so familiar with bad luck felt fortunate.

"Thank God it didn't hit me in the head," Yankees reliever Joba Chamberlain said after his team's 2-1 loss in 13 innings to the Baltimore Orioles in Game 4 of the ALDS tonight. "It got me in the elbow. That's better than the other (option)."

The moment of alarm occurred in the 12th inning. He sheared in half the bat of Orioles catcher Matt Wieters. The ball still fell into left field for a single. Chamberlain turned to watch the ball's flight — only to see the shards of Wieters' bat coming directly at him. The sharp end of the lumber spooked him. "That's what I was more scared about than anything," he said.

He turned from the incoming object, only to have it smack his surgically-repaired right elbow. The joint swelled almost immediately. After a few warm-up tosses, Chamberlain left the game on the recommendation of manager Joe Girardi. Chamberlain wanted to stay in, but Girardi overruled him.

An X-ray of the bone was negative. Girardi said "we'll have to see" if Chamberlain can pitch in tonight's deciding Game 5.

"We went out there, let him throw a few and then I looked at it," Girardi said. "I saw some swelling, and I was just concerned that a little bit of swelling could cause some command issues. So I made a change."

The loss of Chamberlain forced Giradi to use rookie David Phelps in extra innings. Phelps eventually allowed Baltimore to score the go-ahead run on J.J. Hardy's RBI double.