UPDATE: Monday, August 4 at 4:28 p.m. ET
Manager Joe Girardi discussed Tanaka's session today, which was a light catch, and he told the media the Japanese star will do the same again tomorrow, this time with more intensity, per Sweeny Murti of WFAN and Daniel Barbarisi of The Wall Street Journal:
"It's way too early to see…it's pretty light catch. We'll do it again tomorrow."–Joe Girardi on Tanaka's activity today.
— Sweeny Murti (@YankeesWFAN) August 4, 2014
Girardi: tanaka will play catch again tomorrow, with more distance and intensity.
— Daniel Barbarisi (@DanBarbarisi) August 4, 2014
End of Update
Monday was a big day in the progress for Masahiro Tanaka as far as recovery and rehab for the small tear in his UCL of his right elbow went and it looks like he, along with the New York Yankees got great news.
Tanaka was cleared to play catch, which he was able to do on Monday just before the Yankees were set to kick off a four-game series with the Detroit Tigers at Yankee Stadium. Tanaka played a game of catch in which he threw 50 pitches and told Sweeny Murti of WFAN that he felt great afterwards.
Tanaka was sweaty and smiling after 50-pitch game of catch. Told me he felt good and no pain. First of many steps.— Sweeny Murti (@YankeesWFAN) August 4, 2014
Now, that doesn't mean that the elbow will flare up with pain once he has a chance to rest, kind of like what happened with CC Sabathia and his knee when he pitched a rehab game in Trenton, said he felt great and then woke up 24 hours later in pain and was then shut down for the rest of the season, but this is obvious good news for both the Yankees and for Tanaka.
Usually when a partial or even small tear in a ligament of an elbow happens, the next step is Tommy John Surgery, which was the case with New York Mets ace Matt Harvey last summer and has yet to pitch for the Mets since last season, but every doctor that Tanaka saw said that Tommy John Surgery wasn't needed and the PRP injections and treatment was the best way to go right now.
It's not clear what the next step will be for Tanaka and the Yankees, but the odds of him returning to the team for the remainder of the 2014 season just went up and if the Yankees can keep themselves in the playoff race, Tanaka's return would be a tremendous boost, especially considering he was a favorite for the American League Cy Young Award before his injury last month.
Tanaka, who was 12-4 with a 2.51 ERA and 135 strikeouts in 129.1 innings, has been on the disabled list with the elbow injury since mid-July.
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