Masahiro Tanaka expected to rejoin Yankees next week

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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.

Padres fire Andy Green

Andy Green
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The Padres fired manager Andy Green on Saturday, per an official team release. Bench coach Rod Barajas will step into the position for the remaining eight games of the 2019 season.

Executive Vice President and GM A.J. Preller gave a statement in the wake of Green’s dismissal:

I want to thank Andy for his tireless work and dedication to the Padres over the last four seasons. This was an incredibly difficult decision, but one we felt was necessary at this time to take our organization to the next level and expedite the process of bringing a championship to San Diego. Our search for a new manager will begin immediately.

In additional comments made to reporters, Preller added that the decision had not been made based on the Padres’ current win-loss record (a fourth-place 69-85 in the NL West), but rather on the lack of response coming from the team.

“Looking at the performance, looking at it from an improvement standing, we haven’t seen the team respond in the last few months,” Preller said. “When you get to the point where you’re questioning where things are headed … we have to make that call.”

Since his hiring in October 2015, Green has faced considerable challenges on the Padres’ long and winding path to postseason contention. He shepherded San Diego through four consecutive losing seasons, drawing a career 274-366 record as the club extended their streak to 13 seasons without a playoff appearance. And, despite some definite strides in the right direction — including an eight-year, $144 million pact with Eric Hosmer, a 10-year, $300 million pact with superstar Manny Machado, and the development of top prospect Fernando Tatís Jr. — lingering injuries and inexplicable slumps from key players stalled the rebuild longer than the Padres would have liked.

For now, they’ll prepare to roll the dice with a new skipper in 2020, though any potential candidates have yet to be identified for the role. It won’t come cheap, either, as Green inked a four-year extension back in 2017 — one that should have seen him through the team’s 2021 campaign.