The Yankees had a decent trading day on July 31st, but decided to stand pat in the starting pitching market. The reason? Well, for one, the young Michael Pineda finally seems to be on his way back from injury, as he is scheduled to make a rehab start in the coming days. He’d be a huge boost to the rotation down the stretch. Secondly, the Yankees could explore a trade for a starting pitcher via the waiver process and there are a few very solid pieces who would likely go through the waivers. Finally, the Bombers front office are awaiting news on ace pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, who was diagnosed with a minor tear (Less than 10% possibly even smaller) of his UCL and a team of three doctors each prescribed rest, rehab, and PRP injections.
According to the Yankees and the doctors, a tear that small could heal itself and it’s a possibility that he avoids Tommy John surgery altogether. There were skeptics to the decision, and they cited Matt Harvey‘s decision to try the same thing last year, but that was a different situation. Harvey’s tear was above 10% and Tanaka’s is pretty far below it and doctors recommended surgery right way for Harvey, something that wasn’t done in Tanaka’s situation. Over the past couple weeks, the team has said that the 25-year-old rookie sensation “feels better and better” each time they talk to him, and that sounds like a very good sign as a UCL tear usually involves a lot of pain and now it seems like the Yankees brass will finally see what the verdict is.
“Source: Yankees looking for incremental upgrades, not big pieces. Monday much bigger day. They expect news on Masahiro Tanaka’s progress.” - Jeff Passan via Twitter
If it’s good news, the Yankees will be overwhelmed and the team could probably expect him back sometime in late August along with Pineda somewhere around the middle of the month. A pitching staff with these two young guns returning would look something like this:
That would be huge for a Yankees’ team going down the stretch and, with them somehow still in the middle of the playoff picture, if they do make the postseason, the team can count on Tanaka to win a one game playoff A.K.A The Wild Card Game. If it’s bad news… well the Yankees would lose Tanaka for the rest of this season and all of next season as he’d more than likely need to undergo Tommy John surgery. We can’t speculate what Monday will bring.