One day after throwing 25 fastballs off a bullpen mound, Masahiro Tanaka reported no issues. Tanaka was right back at it as he played catch at Tropicana Field, before Sunday's New York Yankees and Tampa Rays game.
Tanaka felt no pain in his injured elbow as he works his way back to the mound. "He's had no twinges or anything," said Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothchild. "You stay optimistic until you know otherwise. We'll just keep progressing the program as it's set up and just go from there."
Tanaka was encouraged after throwing off a mound yesterday and being able throw his fastball. "I think we're heading in the right direction," Tanaka said through an interpreter. Tanaka feels that he can make a comeback this season and would like to be able to return in September. "I think it's important for the team to fight until the end of the season, so for me, if it would be possible, I'd like to contribute until the end of the season."
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that he was "real encouraged", how Tanaka bounced back from his bullpen session on Saturday. Girardi was very optimistic as Tanaka tossed the ball around without issue, on Sunday. "That was the first thing I asked; "How does he feel today?' The fact that he went out and played long toss tells me he feels good. And we'll continue to go forward."
Rothchild has been impressed with Tanaka's progress and said that he "looked smooth" on Saturday. "It is what it is," Rothchild said. "Would I rather have had him have three, four or five starts right now? Yeah. You're just not going to know until he gets through it all and he's in games. Even then you have to keep an eye on it."
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