MLB.com's Bryan Hoch and Jake Kring-Schreifels report that Tanaka has shown "only marginal improvement" in his recovery since the injection. He is still rehabbing his partially-torn UCL in his right elbow in attempt to avoid Tommy John surgery, which would guarantee his missing the rest of this year and could jeopardize all of 2015 as well.
Hoch and Kring-Schreifels quoted Yankees general manager Brian Cashman speaking with ESPN New York. Cashman discussed the slow but steady progress that Tanaka has shown throughout his rehab process. Said Cashman,
"He's improved, but he still feels it. On a daily basis, it decreases, so that's good. But it's not good that he's still feeling it at this stage. We just go day by day and week by week, and we'll adjust accordingly. Right now, it's too early to call."Tanaka is 12-4 with a 2.51 ERA and 1.01 WHIP in 18 starts in his first MLB season. His current timetable has him starting to throw in early August, which would give him three full weeks of rest. Then the usual bullpen sessions, simulated games, and Minor League rehab assignments would follow. This plan, naturally, assumes that Tanaka progresses well enough and does not need extra time -- or surgery.
The Yankees have not waited around. Cashman has used the trade market effectively, adding a starting pitcher in Brandon McCarthy, a reliever in Jeff Francis, and a third baseman in Chase Headley this month. In Yankee tradition, he will continue to find the pieces that will help propel the Yankees into the postseason. If Tanaka can return, he would become the biggest piece of all.
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