Two years later, John Wall gets the first pitch right… kind of

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As you may remember, Wizards point guard John Wall unleashed one of the worst first pitches in history at Nationals Park two years ago, spiking the ball barely in front of the mound. The Nationals invited him back anyway, giving him a chance to make amends on Thursday.

Wall, for what it’s worth, practiced some hard tosses on a basketball court, getting some tips along the way. Still, he wasn’t willing to risk embarrassment again. He opted to go with the lob prior to the game versus the White Sox.

Perhaps he would have felt more comfortable with Chris Young as his target behind the plate.

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.