If all goes well, New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka will return to the rotation in September. Of course, that all depends on if he experiences any pain during his continued rehabilitation. If there is any discomfort whatsoever during his catch session on Monday, Tanka will have to undergo Tommy John Surgery.
On July 9, Tanaka was placed on the disabled list with a ligament tear in his right elbow. Instead of immediately undergoing surgery to fix the injury, the Yankees thought it best to use rehabilitation to improve the issue. Clearly, if avoiding surgery is a possibility then it is the route that is necessary to take, especially for someone who is 25 years old. At this point, everything hinges on how Tanaka feels when he plays catch for the first time in nearly a month.
There is plenty of optimism surrounding Tanaka’s chances of pitching again this season. With that being said, it is still a process that can only be done one day at a time. If he does not feel any discomfort today when he plays catch, he will begin a throwing program that should set him up for a September return.
The right-hander is 12-4 with a 2.51 ERA, 135 strikeouts and 129 1/3 innings in 18 starts this season. That includes three complete games and one shutout. He also became the first Yankees rookie to win 12 games by the All-Star break. In fact, he did not lose his first decision until May 20. That was eight consecutive starts without losing a game.