Masahiro Tanaka is back to his throwing program. The Japanese pitcher’s rehab had been delayed due to “general soreness” last week in his elbow. Despite that setback, he has gotten back on track. The Yankees are hoping the pitcher can avoid Tommy Johns’s surgery on the slightly torn ligament in his pitching elbow and return to help with their playoff — and possible World Series — hunt.
He played catch on Tuesday without any problems, Yankees manager Joe Girardi told ESPN.com. Tanaka will throw a bullpen session later this week, but Girardi wouldn’t say what day it would take place. They are hoping to see if the pitcher can return this season, but it’s waning quickly.
“Every manual test that they did came out really well,” Girardi said, via ESPN.com. “They just said he had some arm fatigue and he is scheduled to throw a bullpen sometime this week. Hopefully, he is ready to do it.”
In 18 starts, Tanaka was 12-4 with a 2.51 ERA this season. Prior to his injury, he was lights out in his first MLB season. However, an MRI on Tanaka revealed a small tear of the ulnar collateral ligament. He was placed on the disabled list on July 9.
The Yankees and Tanaka have been doing their best to avoid the surgical approach to dealing with Tanaka’s elbow. Four specialists have advised them to do so. According to ESPN.com, they have been administering a platelet-rich plasma injection and controlled throwing program.
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