Yankees rookie ace Masahiro Tanaka has been sidelined since July 8 because of a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. However, he's been working his way back (and trying to avoid surgery), and on Thursday morning he took the next big step in Detroit ...
Masahiro Tanaka pitching to Brendan Ryan in a simulated game this morning at Comerica Park. pic.twitter.com/kkIGs5dkn6— Sweeny Murti (@YankeesWFAN) August 28, 2014
Tanaka threw a 49-pitch simulated outing against, as noted, infielder Brendan Ryan, who batted from both sides of the plate. All went well, and Tanaka remains on course for a return to the rotation at some point in September (barring setback, of course).
As for how Tanaka looked and how he commanded his wipeout splitter, let's hear it from Ryan himself:
Ryan on Tanaka: Splitters were moving. "Some of them were so dirty I kind of forgot to swing" #yankees— Meredith Marakovits (@M_Marakovits) August 28, 2014
The Yankees are on the upswing of late and now find themselves just 2 1/2 games off the wild card pace in the AL. Getting a handful of stretch-drive starts from Tanaka would of course be a good thing on that front.
Before getting hurt, Tanaka pitched to a 2.51 ERA (153 ERA+) and a stellar 135/19 K/BB in 18 starts and 129 1/3 innings.