Masahiro Tanaka is continuing to get closer to returning to the Yankees rotation. Today he threw a 49 pitch simulated game, using all his pitches. Tanaka hasn’t had any setbacks in his rehab so far, and today was no different. Seeing that he threw his splitter with no issue was great news.
Brendan Ryan was the unfortunate man who faced all 49 Tanaka pitches. After the simulation, Tanaka said that he felt “normal” and that he was throwing the splitter “worry free”, as reported by Bryan Hoch. Tanaka also said that he felt normal soreness after the session.
Meredith Marakovits also reported that Tanaka was more cautious than excited at this point in the rehab process. So it seems that while all is well so far, Tanaka knows that he is not out of the woods yet and his elbow can be reinjured at any time.
Heading into today’s game with the Tigers, the Yankees sit 2.5 games out of a Wild Card spot. The Yankees have won 8 of its last 11 games and look to be coming together. Newcomers Martin Prado and Chase Headley are leading the way offensively and defensively.
The Yankees are starting to look like a team having fun and it is paying off in the win column. While the playoffs seemed unreachable just a few weeks ago, the Wild Card is a real possibility. If Tanaka can get back to the rotation with a few weeks left in the season, he may just be the difference between the Yankees playing baseball in October versus playing golf in October.