Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka is scheduled for a 25-pitch bullpen session on Saturday at Tropicana Field, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports. Tanaka hasn’t pitched since July 8 due to a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. All 25 pitches will be fastballs.
If Tanaka’s road to recovery goes according to plan, the Yankees may be able to get the right-hander back some time in mid- or late-September. At the time he went on the disabled list, Tanaka was in the running for the American League Rookie of the Year and Cy Young awards with a 2.51 ERA and a 135/19 K/BB ratio in 129 1/3 innings over 18 starts.
The Yankees entered tonight’s game against the Rays on a four-game losing streak, eight games behind the Orioles for first place in the AL East. The hope is that by the time Tanaka is ready to return, the Yankees will still be in the running for a ticket to the post-season.
The Red Sox and Mariners left nothing on the table Friday night, going head-to-head in a series opener that eventually ended 14-10 in the Sox’ favor. Led by Steven Wright and Wade LeBlanc — neither of whom made it past the fifth inning — the teams combined for 34 hits and four home runs, including two moonshots from Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and a five-run rally that gave Boston the edge in the seventh.
In the sixth inning, however, the Red Sox were still scrambling to make up a four-run deficit. Left fielder J.D. Martinez cut it in half with one swing, pouncing on an 89.5-mph fastball from Seattle right-hander Nick Vincent and posting it to dead center field for a two-run shot.
The 427-foot blast was Martinez’s 23rd of the season, tying Mike Trout for the most home runs in the league this year. While he still has a ways to go before eclipsing the career-best 45-HR mark he set in 2017, he’s off to a strong start this season: Entering Friday’s game, the 30-year-old slugger was batting .315/.386/.623 with a 1.009 OPS and AL-leading 55 RBI in 308 PA. He finished Friday’s game 4-for-5 with five RBI, just one triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
Heading into the All-Star Break, both Martinez and Trout still have some competition for the home run title. Jose Ramirez is sitting at 22 homers, while Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis are tied at 20 apiece.