Tanaka (13-5) did a fine job in his first start back from the disabled list Sunday but endured his worst outing of the season Saturday, with the Red Sox putting a run on the board in the first inning before extending the lead to 9-0 by the time the second came to a close. Tanaka threw just 50 pitches in the loss before being removed. He ends his first major-league season with a 2.77 ERA, 1.06 WHIP and 141:21 K:BB ratio in 136 1/3 innings over 20 starts.
Despite being unworried about the injured elbow, Tanaka remains curious about how his elbow and body responds to his second start off the disabled list Saturday. "You can't really tell by just one game," Tanaka said. "I do really want to go out there again and check to see how my body, my arm is. So that's kind of the main thing that I'm looking for."
Tanaka is expected to throw about 85 pitches in Saturday's start. He surrendered one earned run in 5 1/3 innings Sunday while throwing 70 pitches.
"Obviously, I'm very relieved," Tanaka said through a translator. "I don't exactly remember when, but gradually, as the game went on, I guess I stopped thinking about it."
Pitching coach Larry Rothschild was pleased as well, according to MLB.com.
"His warmups were really good. The sim games, the last one, the warmups were OK. Today there was a difference and you could see it right away in the force with which he threw the ball and the quickness to his arm, all of the things that you saw before he went on the DL. Warming up today, you could see it."
Tanaka will make another start Saturday at Boston to give the Yankees an even better indication if he can avoid surgery to repair the partially torn UCL in his right elbow.
"It's possible that he can get through this for quite a while. It's possible that it comes up and bites him, and that's it," Rothschild said. "We're hopeful that's it's the earlier scenario and that he's going to be fine and have a nice, long career with no problems."
Making his first start in 10 weeks,
Tanaka pitched 5 1/3 innings, as he was limited to 70 pitches, allowing one run on five hits and no walks. He got four strikeouts in the game, which raised his record to 13-4 and lowered his ERA to 2.47.
Assuming Tanaka emerges healthy from this outing, he will start against the Red Sox next weekend for his final appearance of the season.
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