Yankees ace Masahiro Tanaka was diagnosed in early July with a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow — the injury that almost always leads to Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery — but he’s trying the rest and rehab route first and it’s actually going pretty smoothly so far.
Tanaka threw a successful 35-pitch bullpen session on Wednesday afternoon in the Yankee Stadium bullpen, mixing in all of his pitches for the first time. MLB.com beat reporter Bryan Hoch has more …
Tanaka returned to his normal interview protocol for the details of today’s session, but the right-hander is clearly excited about his situation. Tanaka threw 35 pitches in the Yankee Stadium bullpen, a mix of fastballs, curveballs and sliders. He also snapped off five splitters, which is fairly significant considering the torque that Tanaka’s signature pitch requires.
“It went well, but it was actually my first time throwing breaking balls – something other than fastballs – in the bullpen, so I felt it was a little bit rusty,” Tanaka said through an interpreter. “I’ll have to brush that up a little bit.”
Tanaka is aiming to return to a major league mound sometime in September, and it’s starting to look like a realistic goal. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Wednesday that there are no plans for another MRI.