The New York Yankees currently sit five games behind the Kansas City Royals for the second and final wild card spot in the American League. They had a hold on an American League Cy Young candidate in Masahiro Tanaka, until he went down with a tear in his ulnar collateral ligament.
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Despite missing most of the summer, and latter half of the season, it appears Tanaka may in fact be on the mend.
UCL tears typically require Tommy John surgery, and it is still a possibility that Masahiro Tanaka will need to explore that option at some point, but right now things are trending up.
ESPN is reporting that Masahiro Tanaka threw five complete innings in a simulated game on Monday and could conceivably be activated this weekend to rejoin the Yankees rotation.
While all information would suggest shutting Tanaka down for the season, at this point it may make the most sense for him to pitch. Tanaka could have been shut down much earlier and underwent Tommy John surgery to rejoin the Yankees next season.
At this point, surgery would likely end his 2015 season as well. Having gone the rehab route, the Yankees shouldn’t be faulted to see how his UCL holds up in some major league action. Surgery may still be imminent, but after postponing it this long, they almost have to go through with the final step.
The Yankees will likely release a final decision later in the week in regards to what they plan to do with their rookie hurler.