Tanaka to play catch for first time since partially tearing elbow ligament

By Mike Axisa | Baseball Writer

Monday is a big day in Masahiro Tanaka's rehab.
Monday is a big day in Masahiro Tanaka's rehab. (USATSI)

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Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka will play catch Monday for the first time since suffering a partially torn elbow ligament last month, GM Brian Cashman confirmed to George King of the New York Post. He was evaluated Friday and given the thumbs up to test the elbow.

Tanaka, 25, suffered the ligament tear the week before the All-Star break. He was examined by three doctors and all three agreed the tear was small enough that he should rehab the injury rather than undergo Tommy John surgery. Tanaka received a platelet-rich plasma injection in his elbow three weeks ago.

Cashman confirmed that if all goes well with Monday's throwing session, Tanaka will continue his rehab work and throwing program. The best-case scenario has him back in the team's rotation in September. If he experiences discomfort, Tanaka could wind up going under the knife.

In 18 starts and 129 1/3 innings before getting hurt, Tanaka went 12-3 with a 2.51 ERA and a 1.01 WHIP. He struck out 135 and walked only 19 for an impressive 7.11 K/BB ratio. Among pitchers with 100-plus innings, only Hisashi Iwakuma (10.44), Clayton Kershaw (10.00), Phil Hughes (9.08) and David Price (8.22) have a better K/BB ratio.

The Yankees are currently without Tanaka, CC Sabathia (knee), Michael Pineda (shoulder) and Ivan Nova (Tommy John surgery), so four-fifths of their Opening Day rotation is on the disabled list. Pineda started a minor-league rehab assignment on Sunday.

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