Masahiro Tanaka’s status was in question after he struggled in his second minor league rehab start, but he’s suddenly expected to rejoin the Yankees next week.
Tanaka has been sidelined since April 23 due to a right forearm strain and right wrist tendinitis. After tossing three scoreless innings in his first minor league rehab start with Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre last Thursday, he allowed three runs on four hits and two walks over three innings in his second rehab start yesterday.
Tanaka will fly out west tonight to meet up with the team before an official decision is made, but Yankees manager Joe Girardi told Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News that he’ll likely be activated to start next Tuesday or Wednesday against the Mariners in Seattle. He only got stretched out to 61 pitches yesterday, so the expectation is that he’ll be limited to around 80 pitches for his first start back.
Amid constant speculation about the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, Tanaka posted a 3.22 ERA with 24 strikeouts and seven walks in 22 1/3 innings over his first four starts this season prior to being placed on the disabled list. Those questions likely aren’t going away.
After being dropped in John Farrell’s batting order earlier this week, the struggling David Ortiz will now get a couple of days off to work on his swing. According to Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald, the veteran slugger is also dealing with a case of the flu.
The 39-year-old Ortiz has just one hit in his last 20 at-bats and is batting an uncharacteristic .216/.303/.377 with six home runs and 18 RBI across his first 43 games this season. His strikeout rate is up only slightly from last year, but his hard-hit rate is down and he’s hitting more ground balls than at any point of his career. With the way teams shift him, it’s not surprising that his batting average on balls in play (BABIP) sits at just .227 right now.
Hanley Ramirez is expected to fill in at designated hitter for the next couple of days while Ortiz works on things.
The Indians just announced that first baseman Carlos Santana has been placed on the paternity leave list. His daughter was born this morning, so he’ll take some time to enjoy the new little one before rejoining the team. Players are permitted to be on the paternity leave list for 24-72 hours.
Jerry Sands, who played well in a stint with the Indians earlier this season, will take his spot on the active roster for now.
Santana is batting just .221 through 42 games so far this season, but he has six home runs and leads the majors with 37 walks, giving him a .374 on-base percentage and a .756 OPS.