In what is the best news since Masahiro Tanaka discovered he had a slightly torn UCL, the New York Yankees ace is now reporting there is no more pain in his elbow.
— Brendan Kuty (@BrendanKutyNJ) August 13, 2014
Wallace Matthews of ESPNNewYork.com has the latest:
Just spoke with Tanaka's press liaison. Two words that will excite Yankee fans: "Pain's gone"
— wallace matthews (@ESPNNYYankees) August 13, 2014
Tanaka has been on the disabled list since July 9 with the ligament injury and was fortunate enough not to require Tommy john surgery. Instead, Tanaka has opted to try and let it heal with treatment, possibly enabling him to come back in 2014.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has already said the team has a target date for Tanaka to return, but he didn't reveal the exact date. What we do know is that it's looking like the first week of September at the earliest.
Tanaka threw 10 fastballs on flat ground, feels no pain, feels he can pitch this year if things progress the way they should.
— Sweeny Murti (@YankeesWFAN) August 13, 2014
Another injured Yankees starter is preparing to make his return to the field today as Michael Pineda will take the mound at Camden yards to take on the Baltimore Orioles. It is his first big-league action since April 23, when he was tossed from his start for using pine tar.
Tanaka has been throwing from 60 and 90 feet so far, and has reported no problems. The next step will likely be some bullpen sessions and simulated games in the near future.
He did make another advance in his rehab on Wednesday when he threw off flat ground from the stretch, per George A. King III of the New York Post:
Masahiro Tanaka increased his workload Wednesday afternoon, when he threw from the stretch off the flat ground in the Camden Yards outfield hours before the Yankees-Orioles game.
Tanaka, who is rehabbing a small tear of the ulnar collateral ligament, started by playing catch with pitching coach Larry Rothschild. He followed by working from the stretch and increasing the velocity with Rothschild in a catcher’s crouch.
Even if both Tanaka and Pineda come back to help the Yankees, offense still remains the biggest issue. If this team continues to produce next to nothing, there isn't a pitcher in baseball who can help this Yankee squad.
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