Update: Tanaka throws breaking balls in bullpen, live BP could be next

Bullpen prospect pipeline has changed drastically so far in 2014
Game 124: Big Mike returns to the Bronx

5:00pm: Tanaka threw 35 pitches in the bullpen this afternoon, including fastballs, curveballs, sliders, and even five splitters. Everything went well and he feels fine. Joe Girardi told reported the next step with either be another bullpen session or facing hitters in live batting practice, depending how Tanaka feels in the coming days.

12:30pm: Masahiro Tanaka will throw his second bullpen session today as he attempts to work his way back from a partially torn elbow ligament. He is expected to throw some breaking balls — but not splitters — this time, which is a pretty significant step. Tanaka has thrown breaking balls while playing catch on flat ground.

The Yankees have said the team’s position in the wildcard race will not change how they approach Tanaka’s rehab. They won’t rush him, but they also would like to get him back in games if possible just to see what they have. I guess there is also some feeling that if his elbow is going to blow out, it’s going to blow out, and it’s better to find that out now than early next year. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves though. Hope today goes well.

Bullpen prospect pipeline has changed drastically so far in 2014
Game 124: Big Mike returns to the Bronx
  • blake

    fingers crossed….it’s hard to understate how much is riding on him avoiding surgery for 2015. The plan has to change drastically I’d image if he does…..

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      Not really, to me. They should still be in the market to add some stability to the rotation.

      He’s awesome. He’s amazing. He plays once every five days.

      • blake

        there is a difference between stability and needing a front of the rotation….if Tanaka needs surgery then they almost have to sign Lester or Scherzer or Shields or make a trade if they want to contend in 2015…..if he can pitch then it becomes more of a luxury and they can focus more on the offense at least initially.

        He plays every 5 days…..but its no real suprise that the bullpen started to fall apart not long after he got hurt. The innings he gave them had lasting effect thoughout the week.

        • ACX

          With this, Tanaka was really fun to watch. I hope he gets through this!!!

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          Yes, but I’m advocating for them pursuing Lester or Shields whether he’s back or not. That’s my point. He doesn’t impact how I see the plan moving forward as far as pitching goes. Whether the ligament is intact or not, the organization is still going to be concerned about it.

          I also think you probably would have seen some issues on the part of the bullpen whether he was hurt or not.

        • Pkyankfan69

          Tanaka – Shields – Pineda – Phelps/Greene/CC/Nova… Maybe Banuelos or Michell… Enough to get us through a season? Bring back McCarthy on top of that if it played ou like that?

          • TB

            I would much prefer Lester over Shields – Lester is just a better fit in yankee stadium – we need a lefty ace and we know he can candle the big game and the big market

          • TB

            Oh and let me add – Shields will cost a 1st round pick where Lester wont

        • Chip

          given the injury questions surrounding CC and Pineda I think that even if Tank was 100% they would still be looking for a front line starter to pair with him. Preferably Lester since he’s won in the AL East, won in the post season, is left handed and doesn’t require pick compensation.

      • ACX

        With all of their big money starters going down, I have a hard time seeing them getting into another long term agreement with Lester or Scherzer or that ilk. Tanaka is 24 and he is already hurt. My guess is they stick to the guys they have, resign McCarthy, maybe bring in Haren to compete, and hope everyone stays healthy.

        • TCF16

          On the other hand, they could argue that they got rewally good value out of CC for a few years, and since they had bad luck with tanaka, they’re bound to have GOOD luck with Lester or Scherzer.

          • Farewell Mo

            Hopefully you’re kidding otherwise that’s line of reasoning is beyond ridiculous.

          • Jorge Steinbrenner

            To add to that argument, the three big FA pitchers aren’t exactly in the TJ window for young starters and have reached their 30’s without a whole lot of slowing down. If we believe they’re not close to slowing down due to wear and tear, they’re not unsafe investments. I prefer Lester and Shields more to Scherzer, however. I still think old Max Scherzer shows up somewhere in that deal, and that old Max will look a lot like old AJ.

            • ACX

              A healthy Tanaka will be the ace of whatever combination of players we have next year. If I were the Yankees, I’d also be looking for ways to get Tanaka as many starts on 5 days rest instead of 4. Could mean spot starts from Huff and Rogers next year…. But keeping him healthy is way too important.

              • ACX

                Oh and I’d go Shields on 4 year deal around 16-18 m/yr before lester or scherzer on 6-7 year.around 25/yr.

            • blake

              totally agree….I’m really not scared of Lester on a 6/120 deal. His comments sure sound like he’s going back to Boston though if they get close……

  • Logan

    I don’t see how surgery is avoidable unless he changes his throwing motion

    • chris hines

      I think they are simply hoping to hold it off a few years like Wainwright.

  • SweetSpot

    You have not one but numerous medical professionals, the very best in their field, all in agreement that this was the best protocol to follow. Hopefully it works out, but if it doesn’t, it just would indicate that the human body is complex and unpredictable and I won’t blame anyone in hindsight.

    • Pete22

      Doctors will always try the less radical options before surgery unless it is clear cut. None of thse professionals is guaranteeing anything. Fact is, there is a reason the UCL tore partially and if the underlying reason is not corrected, its likely to tear again even if it heals this time.

      Assuming the underlying reason is his increased use of the split this year, a concern I mentioned many times back on the other place, they question becomes how effective will he be throwing it less, which one would expect him to do to prevent a recurrence and another 3 month DL stint.

  • TWTR

    Tanak on wood.

  • dkidd

    i’m in denial about this
    he’s going to be fine, just fine, totally fine
    all is well, remain calm

  • Bigdan

    This is a pretty good piece of history from Sherman, especially with the possibility of Tanaka returning.

    Wonder if that ’95 team could hit?

    • Farewell Mo

      Not sure what this has to do with Tanaka throwing another bullpen session.

      • Bigdan

        You’ll have to read more closely.

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        It’s also an incredibly shitty article.

        • Looser Trader FotD™

          Well it’s The Post so…

  • Jack
    • Yanks101

      This list is a joke right?

      I mean Mike Ford as the teams #12 position prospect lmfao.

      • TB

        Yanks u might end up surprised with Mike Ford – Kid has an insane work ethic and that’s not something a lot of players naturally have today.

    • RetroRob

      Wow, that’s a weird list, although it’s not new. Newsday published it earlier this summer, but looks like they updated it. Anyone notice who is missing? Luis Severino doesn’t even make the top 25!

      • TB

        Rob was a position players list — No Pitchers

        • RetroRob

          Thanks. I was just heading back to look at it figuring there had to be something to explain his absence.

  • ACX

    Get healthy! He and Betances were the only must watch tv on this team…

  • Scott

    I’m all for seeing if he can pitch again this year, just to see what the Yanks might have for next year. Meaning can they rely on him for the rotation or not.
    Regardless of whether he comes back this year won’t make a difference for this year’s team. Their offense is proving worthless. It is a shame.

  • Austinmac

    I am not at all convinced the team is going to invest another $100M on a pitcher after Tanaka’s issues and some success of guys they brought in or up at a far lower cost.

    If they spend, and that is a big if to me, I think it will be on the offense.

    • chris hines

      Well the other side to that is the first CC contract worked out extremely well, extending him was a mistake but we got more than enough value back on the original deal.

      • Septhinox

        Same with Arod’s deal.

      • RetroRob

        Some fans get upset with the backend of deals, but in the Yankees universe they should be less concerned about that. Get value up front and keep bringing in new talent as the other talent begins to fade. The issue the Yankees ran into a couple years back with Plan 189 is their former free agent signing were aging, but they stopped signing new talent.
        One can argue they should have signed Cano to a ten year deal if they thought he’d be elite for another three seasons and productive for six or seven.

        • dkidd

          who are the biggest free agents that might have been signed if not for plan 189?

    • Bigdan

      I think the first decision driver is Tanaka. If he needs surgery this year, then I think it’s a given the Yanks go big for a starter. But if he can start a couple games in Sept, then it becomes a harder call.

      I brought this point up a few threads ago. Although offense is the clearest need after Tanaka, I’m not sure there are a lot of options in the marketplace, trade or FA, to significantly upgrade the present offense. Too many roster spots are already taken with big salaries. It’s possible the Yanks may go the run prevention route. If that’s the case, a contract for Drob seems far more likely. And perhaps even a play for one of the Big Three pitchers as well if the Yanks decide to up the budget.

      Should be an interesting off season. I’m sure there will be some surprises.

    • lightSABR

      Will there be offense on the market that’s worth spending big on? (That’s a genuine question – I don’t know the answer.)

      • Austinmac

        Hanley is probably the best bat and might result in the worst contract. Perhaps, they could use money to take on a contract in a trade. The trouble is everyone needs offense these days.

    • RetroRob

      The Yankees pitching has held up fine, which is pretty surprising considering they lost 4/5ths of their rotation. The bullpen has also been excellent for most of the year, although wear and tear is showing, which probably can be attributed to some of the replacement starters not going deep into the game, which causes stress on the pen. Overall, though, the team has managed the injured starting staff and bullpen well.

      Offense has been the issue. Not sure there’s an easy answer out there, which is why I encourage signing players like Castillo, not because he’s the solution, but his added depth may allow them to trade other pieces to get a bat.

      • Pete22

        Offense is an issue with pretty much everyone this year. I agree on Castillo, players like that are so rare (not that he is a HOF’er), that if you can get him for 12 million AAV for 5-6 years then go for it.

        Acquire the talent first, and then figure it out

    • Pete22

      Not much to spend on offense that’s not also risky. I don’t think they spend much at all with Arod back on the books. Maybe if Arod gets suspended again, CC takes a medical retirement which is paid by insurance, or something like that, then they will. If they want to get better for 2015 and keep Hals budget happy, they will have to do it via trade by selling off the farm. They might not care if they can draw over 3 million fans with a 500 team.

      Lesser free agents like Cruz, Melky, Rasmus, Peavy, McCarthy, Drew. Hardy, Santanna, etc could probably fit within Hals budget.

      • Mick

        The budget’s the problem. Since when did the Yankees have a budget?

  • AskMeAboutMyCandyBars

    Starting lineups for tonight’s game:

    Houston Astros

    1 RF Robbie Grossman
    2 2B Jose Altuve
    3 DH Chris Carter
    4 CF Dexter Fowler
    5 C- Jason Castro
    6 1B Jon Singleton
    7 SS Marwin Gonzalez
    8 3B Matt Dominguez
    9 LF Jake Marisnick

    P RH Scott Feldman

    New York Yankees

    1 LF Brett Gardner
    2 DH Derek Jeter
    3 CF Jacoby Ellsbury
    4 1B Mark Teixeira
    5 C+ Brian McCann
    6 3B Chase Headley
    7 SS Stephen Drew
    8 2B Martin Prado
    9 RF Ichiro Suzuki

    P RH Michael Pineda

    • TB

      Cross your fingers and if we win – Candy for everyone

  • Farewell Mo

    I can’t understand why this guy hasn’t had his arm amputated yet so he can start working on pitching left handed.

    • Billy Bats Eppler

      The lack of long term foresight really is astonishing.

  • Mick

    So Jete’s the go to DH now. Why no Prado in RF? Cervell/McCann DH.
    Ichiro vs the lefty and now Feldman?

    • Pete22

      640 OPS guy at DH. My head hurts.

  • Mick

    Headley and Drew ahead of your hottest hitter Prado?
    Joe’s losing it..

  • W.B. Mason Williams

    There throws my ‘Hiro.

    Watch him as he throws.

    • dkidd

      it’s times like these we learn to throw again


  • TB

    Well its been a tough tough season for us yankee fans but despite the differences of people on this board we all still show the passion to want our team to improve and win… That I see as a good thing

  • Farewell Mo

    If Tanaka needs surgery, they should just sign Mo’ne Davis to pitch next year.

  • Macho Man “Randy Levine”

    So what are the chances that he actually pitches in a game again this year? I mean, if they look to be almost dead in two weeks, which certainly seems possible, is it even worth it to have him pitch in ultimately meaningless games?

  • Game 3

    How did this turn into an open thread?