The New York Yankees did not acquire a big-ticket pitcher at the non-waiver trade deadline last week, but they are crossing their fingers they may get All-Star starter Masahiro Tanaka back at some point this season.
Tanaka, 25, threw for the first time since suffering a small ligament tear in his pitching elbow prior to the All-Star break on Monday and reported no pain and felt good after throwing 50 pitches.
This is the first hurdle of many for Tanaka to return to the mound in Yankee Stadium, but this is an encouraging sign nonetheless to have their ace progressing toward a return.
Tanaka was sweaty and smiling after 50-pitch game of catch. Told me he felt good and no pain. First of many steps.
— Sweeny Murti (@YankeesWFAN) August 4, 2014
Yankees manager Joe Girardi will meet the media at 4 p.m. ET to discuss today’s development with Tanaka and outline what the next steps are in his rehab from the injury.
When doctors discovered the small tear in his elbow in July there was a consensus among the three who examined his injury that he could avoid Tommy John surgery, which would have ended his 2014 season and potentially kept him on the disabled list for the beginning of the 2015 season.
It would appear surgery is still not in the works for Tanaka who is progressing and working through his rehab without any setbacks so far.
Whether that means he can make a few starts or not in September remains to be seen, but Yankees fans will need to curb their enthusiasm and expect the front office will be extremely cautious with their ace.
In 18 starts this season, Tanaka has a 12-3 record with a 2.51 ERA and a 1.01 WHIP.