Yanks' Masahiro Tanaka feels 'very good' after first bullpen session
Yankees ace Masahiro Tanaka has taken the next step toward working his way back the rotation after an elbow injury.
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.