Koji Uehara out “a few days” after cortisone injection in elbow

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Koji Uehara won’t throw for at least a few days after getting a cortisone injection today in his right elbow.

Uehara told Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com that the injury “is not even serious” and described it as merely “arm fatigue,” but the closer candidate has had elbow problems in the past and re-signed with the Orioles for just $3 million in guaranteed money in part because other teams likely had concerns about his holding up physically.

According to Ghiroli “apparently he gets these pretty frequently so the team isn’t overly concerned at this point.”

Uehara is widely viewed as the favorite to claim ninth-inning duties, but with former closer Kevin Gregg also in the mix he definitely won’t be handed the job.

Masahiro Tanaka to throw off a mound this weekend

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Earlier this month Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka strained both of his hamstrings while running the bases in an interleague game against the Mets and was sent to the 10-day DL. Today it was announced that the beginning of the end of most DL stints for pitchers — throwing off of a mound — is in Tanaka’s immediate future.

Tanaka is scheduled to throw off a mound Sunday, which will be his first real (well, fake real) pitching action since the June 9th injury. Assuming the session goes well, Tanaka is expected to return to the Yankees’ starting rotation sometime in early-to-mid July. With the All-Star break coming the week of July 16, it would not be hard to imagine the Yankees giving him a few extra days to get right.

Tanaka is 7-2 with a 4.58 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 73/19 in 72.2 innings on the season.