The New York Yankees had their fingers crossed that rookie pitcher Masahiro Tanaka would be able to return from his elbow injury in time for the playoff push in September. However, after suffering a small setback in his recovery, that plan may be put on hold.
Tanaka threw 49 pitches in a simulated game on Thursday but is experiencing “general arm soreness” and his scheduled simulated game for Tuesday is now on hold as they let the soreness dissipate, according to the YES Network’s Jack Curry.
The Yankees certainly could use Tanaka as they sit three games back of the second wild card spot entering Friday night’s games, but the health of their ace has to take precedence over rushing him back for a three-four September starts, that offers no guarantee of a playoff appearance.
An MRI in July revealed Tanaka had a partially torn UCL in his pitching elbow and hopes to rehab the injury rather than undergo Tommy John Surgery which would have ended his season and likely kept him out at the start of the 2015 season.
If there is a bit of a silver lining here it is that Tanaka said he is not worried and that the pain and soreness is spread throughout his arm and isn’t solely in the ailing elbow.
Tanaka, 25, is 12-4 with a 2.51 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and 135 strikeouts while issuing only 19 walks over 129 1/3 innings and 18 starts in his first season in the Major Leagues after coming over from Japan in the offseason and signing a seven-year contract worth $155 million.