New York Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka took another positive step in his return from a partially torn UCL on Thursday. Tanaka threw in the outfield before the Yankees game against the Tigers and reported no problems.
Tanaka threw at distances of 60 and 90 feet in the outfield as he threw long toss at the Stadium on Thursday morning. Tanaka has been making his way back from the elbow injury that sidelined him back on July 10. Tanaka has decided to rehab the injury instead of undergoing season ending Tommy John Surgery. So far, the results have been positive for the 25 year old right hander.
The Yankees who have been going slow with Tanaka, hope to have him throw at a distance of 120 feet, as the next step in his return to the mound this season. If Tanaka is successful from 120 feet, the Yankees will ramp up the process. The next step after the long toss would be bullpen sessions and eventually a Minor League rehab assignment.
But for now, The Yankees are planning on having Tanaka stay with the team as he continues his throwing program. Tanaka will travel with the Yankees they go to Baltimore next week to face the Orioles. "Hopefully there's a point when we have to send him out on rehab starts," said Yankees manager Joe Girardi. "But right now he's going to stay with us."
Tanaka threw earlier in the week and reported no complications, so Thursday's session was very encouraging, as Tanaka has thrown multiple times this week. Although his current success has been a big positive for Tanaka, he still has a long road ahead of him as he eyes a comeback at some point in September.
"I think you've got to get him onto the mound against competition, to really have a good idea where you're at." Girardi said.
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