Masahiro Tanaka continued his recovery from a UCL tear in his elbow as he threw a successful simulated game at Comerica Park in Detroit. Tanaka looked good as he threw 49 pitches on Thursday morning, without issue.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that the was pleased with Tanaka's outing and that the workout went well. Girardi said that he was "optimistic" after Tanaka's latest session. Tanaka threw three innings to teammate Brendan Ryan and took breaks in between each inning to simulate the feel and flow of an actual game.
"I haven't seen anything that leads me to believe that he won't take the next step," Girardi said. "At no point has he said he's felt anything in his arm. I think he has normal soreness after a day like today, but I am optimistic."
Bob Nightengale reported that Girardi's optimism is a good sign for Tanaka's return to the Yankees rotation in September.
Joe Girardi pleased with Tanaka's outing and says he would return only as a starter and not in relief— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) August 28, 2014
Tanaka has been his toughest critic through his rehab process. Although everyone in the Yankees camp is feeling positive about Tanaka, the former Japanese All-Star, feels he has a lot of room to improve. "I'm actually still not there yet," Tanaka said through an interpreter. "I think some of the balls I am throwing, I'm not able to hit my spots.
Tanaka was hit hard on Thursday by Brendan Ryan and he hit a least three balls that were good enough to be extra base hits. "The rust is still there," Tanaka added. " So I still have some work to get back to game-ready."
Brendan Ryan took pitches from both sides of the plate against Tanaka, liked what he saw from the 25 year old. "He looked good," Ryan said. "He's not going to be where he was right before he got hurt, obviously; he's been off for quite a while. But it's good to see him out there."
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