Yankees rookie ace Masahiro Tanaka of course hasn't pitched since July 8 because of a slightly torn ulnar collateral ligament. In a continuing effort to avoid the worst-case scenario (i.e., Tommy John surgery), Tanaka threw 25 fastballs in his first bullpen session -- and first time throwing from a mound -- since suffering the injury of note.
Wispy action shot!
The results? Very promising. Here's a summary from Chad Jennings of the LoHud Yankee blog:
Masahiro Tanaka said he's encouraged and still pain-free after today's bullpen session. He's hoping to start throwing off speed pitches next time around.
“I think we're heading in the right direction,” Tanaka said. “So I feel really good about it.”
As it turns out, Tanaka wasn't the only one left in a state of optimism ...
Girardi has been reserved on Tanaka's progress, but he seemed genuinely excited re: Tanaka today. "This is a lot more than playing catch."— Daniel Barbarisi (@DanBarbarisi) August 16, 2014
Obviously, we'll need to see how Tanaka feels when he wakes up on Sunday, but this is definitely an encouraging sign.
Before getting hurt, the 25-year-old Tanaka went 12-4 with a 2.51 ERA and a stellar 7.11 K/BB ratio in 18 starts and 129 1/3 innings. He signed a seven-year, $155 million contract with the Yankees over the winter.