SP Masahiro Tanaka made 50 throws from 90 feet away and said he felt no discomfort. That is good news for the New York Yankees.
The Yankees though are playing it smart and not rushing Tanaka, the early Cy Young award favorite before he went down with an elbow injury in his throwing arm. They are instead playing it by ear and taking their time. They want to make sure he is healthy and not risking the chance of losing him for a year, if not longer.
The earliest the Yankees could see Tanaka pitching in the Bronx again is in September, and they hope to still be in the midst of the AL playoff race at that point. If not, the Yankees would be smart to shut him down for the season to ensure he is healthy and good to go for the duration of the 2015 season, all while keeping close eyes on him during the offseason to ensure he is not too harsh on his pitching arm.
The Yankees did get good news when they announced Michael Pineda would return to the team and pitch Wednesday night against the Baltimore Orioles for the first time since his pine tar incident on May 6. They can hope to get Tanaka back and bolster a depleted pitching staff that needs help everywhere.
Tanaka’s return would give them a confidence boost just by his presence. However, the Yankees better be careful and not jeopardize the Japanese hurler’s future. If they look to be out of the playoff race, they should keep him off the mound and make him part of a bigger plan for future seasons.