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Saturday, August 23, 2014

Yankees Injury Update: Masahiro Tanaka expected back in September

By on 8/23/2014 03:00:00 PM

As he progresses through each step in his rehab, it appears more and more likely that New York Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka will avoid Tommy John surgery and return to the mound this season as he recovers from his partially-torn UCL in his right elbow. Tanaka passed his latest test by throwing an abbreviated simulated game Saturday without any issues.'s Jake Krings-Schreifels reported that the right-hander threw 35 pitches to Yankee hitters Brendan Ryan and Zelous Wheeler. Tanaka threw 20 pitches, approximately an inning's worth, rested, and threw 15 more. Tanaka said that he did not hit his spots as well as he had hoped, but throwing without pain or other issues is the most important thing at this time. Krings-Schreifels quoted Yankees manager Joe Girardi discussing just that. Said Girardi,
"The big thing is that he doesn't have pain and the ball is coming out OK. The guys were talking about how hard it was to pick up the split and the arm motion, which is a good sign because it means he's not babying it and that's encouraging."
In addition, pitching coach Larry Rothschild stated about Tanaka, "...he's not that far removed from pitching in a game." Girardi says that Tanaka will need a rehab assignment.

There is no exact plan or time for Tanaka to pitch in a game, but since the Minor League season ends on September 1, there is little time to get that rehab assignment. Girardi said he will "be creative enough to do whatever we have to do to get him ready."

If Tanaka cannot make a rehab assignment by September 1, then the Yankees will have to use him in the heat of the American League Wild Card race. The Yankees trail Seattle by 3.5 games and Detroit by 3.0 games entering play on August 23.

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