The New York Yankees are still relevant in the 2014 playoff picture. Despite a roster that generally lacks depth and a starting rotation that has been absolutely destroyed by injuries, they are just 3.5 games back of the second wild card spot and still have enough time to fight their way into a postseason berth.
Their ability to hang around raises the intriguing possibility of the impact it would have if Masahiro Tanaka is able to come back and pitch again this season.
Working his way back from a partially torn UCL in his pitching elbow, Tanaka was on track to pitch in September. A recent setback in his rehab process cast some doubt on that possibility, but according to Pete Caldera of NorthJersey.com, the Yankees still have hope that Tanaka can pitch in September.
On Friday, Tanaka reported having “general arm soreness” that prompted his return to New York. “I still feel there’s time to get him back if there are no more setbacks,” Girardi said of Tanaka’s possibility of rejoining the rotation in September. “But if there was to be another setback, obviously there’d be a lot of concern.”
With Tanaka still just being 25 years old and signed to a seven-year deal, the Yankees will obviously exercise caution in the interests of the long term if required. But considering Tanaka’s outstanding performance when he was healthy this season, the Yankees would love to see him back in meaningful games in the next month if they feel he is healthy enough for it.
On the season Tanaka is 12-4 with a 2.50 ERA and 135 strikeouts. He has been out since the beginning of July with this elbow injury.
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