Yankees: Masahiro Tanaka Playing Catch is What Every NYY Fan Needed to See

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 19: Masahiro Tanaka #19 of the New York Yankees celebrates the final out of the seventh inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Yankee Stadium on September 19, 2019 in Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 19: Masahiro Tanaka #19 of the New York Yankees celebrates the final out of the seventh inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Yankee Stadium on September 19, 2019 in Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /
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New York Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka is playing catch a week after his scary injury.

Every Yankees fan had their Fourth of July either significantly interrupted or altogether ruined when they saw the video of pitcher Masahiro Tanaka taking a line drive off the head when Giancarlo Stanton crushed a pitch back up the middle.

But hours later, Tanaka went to the hospital, underwent testing and was released shortly after, which instilled some confidence he’d be OK. Then, a couple days later it was revealed his CT scan came back negative and he was diagnosed with a mild concussion.

We saw him at Yankee Stadium with his teammates this week, but now he’s easing back into baseball activities, which is tremendous news with Opening Day less than two weeks away.

Though we know his mild concussion diagnosis is nothing to shrug off, fans couldn’t be happier seeing the veteran right-hander back in some sort of action. His availability during 2020’s 60-game slate will be paramount, given his penchant for pitching in high-stakes situations as well as the loss of Luis Severino until 2021.

The reports have been nothing but positive since last week’s scary moment, so it’s comforting evidence of Tanaka throwing can back all of it up. Plus, he’s having some fun!

https://twitter.com/MaxTGoodman/status/1282008753345368065?s=20

It’s a rainy day in New York, so we can expect Saturday’s practice to be severely limited. Tanaka’s already done throwing, but he got some reps in, which is something that will be crucial in the coming week to ensure he’s ready for the start of the season.

The Yankees absolutely need his veteran presence on the mound behind Gerrit Cole because he’s been the team’s most consistent pitcher since the team signed him back in 2014. Plus, when you throw in his postseason stats (5-3 with a 1.76 ERA, 0.78 WHIP and 37 strikeouts in eight starts), he’s especially valuable when every game counts.

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