Tanaka joining Yankees out west, expected to return to rotation next week

(Scranton Times-Tribune)
(Scranton Times-Tribune)

Earlier today, Joe Girardi told reporters Masahiro Tanaka is flying west today to meet the Yankees in California, and he is expected to return to the rotation early next week. “In a perfect world he would start sometime in Seattle,” said Girardi, referring to the team’s three-game series with the Mariners from Monday through Wednesday.

Tanaka, 26, has been out exactly one month now with wrist tendinitis and a minor forearm strain. He’s made two Triple-A rehab starts — one good, one not so good — and was able to get his pitch count up to 62 yesterday, in his second start. Girardi said Tanaka will be limited to 80 pitches in his return next week.

First off all, hooray Tanaka! The Yankees have played it very safe with their ace and they’ve insisted the injury was minor the entire time. Tanaka was reportedly upset at being placed on the DL too. There’s no reason to think they’re rushing him back or that they’re being too aggressive. He’s healthy. He’s just not stretched out.

Secondly, I’m interested to see how they get Tanaka on the roster. Michael Pineda and CC Sabathia will start Monday and Tuesday, and they’re not coming out of the rotation, but Chris Capuano is starting Wednesday and the Yankees are off Thursday. Will Tanaka replace Capuano in the rotation? Or just push him back?

As far as the 25-man roster spot, the easy move would be sending Jacob Lindgren back to Triple-A, but I hope that doesn’t happen. Chasen Shreve could (undeservingly) get sent out, or Esmil Rogers or David Carpenter could be cut loose with Capuano or Adam Warren sliding into the bullpen. Intrigue! We’ll find out soon enough.

Game 44: Bernie Williams Day

(AP Photo/Doug Mills)
(AP Photo/Doug Mills)

Prior to tonight’s series finale with the Rangers, the Yankees will honor and retire No. 51 for Bernie Williams with an on-field ceremony. I guess that makes it Bernie Williams night, not day. Whatever. Either way, this is a long time coming. Williams hasn’t played since 2006, but it wasn’t until last month that he officially signed his retirement papers.

Bernie was an integral part of the team’s most recent dynasty, though he often doesn’t get enough respect simply because Core Five doesn’t sound as cool as Core Four. He was as much a part of those late-1990s teams as Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada, Paul O’Neill, Tino Martinez, David Cone … anyone. In fact, Bernie was a Yankee long before all those guys, having been called up in 1991.

According to the Yankees, Jeter, Posada, O’Neill, Rivera, Tino, Cone, Willie Randolph, and Joe Torre will be among those in attendance for tonight’s ceremony, which is scheduled to start right around 7pm ET. You’ll be able to watch the entire thing on YES. I’m not sure if it’ll be broadcast online anywhere though.

Following the ceremony, the Yankees will wrap up their ugly series with Texas and try to avoid getting swept for the second straight series. If you’re looking for some good news, I can offer this: the Yankees are 3-0 and have outscored their opponents 28-13 in Sunday night games this year. Here is the Rangers’ lineup and here is the Yanks’ lineup:

  1. LF Brett Gardner
  2. 3B Chase Headley
  3. DH Alex Rodriguez
  4. 1B Mark Teixeira
  5. C Brian McCann
  6. RF Garrett Jones
  7. CF Chris Young
  8. SS Didi Gregorius
  9. 2B Jose Pirela
    LHP Chris Capuano

It’s a nice day in New York, a little cloudy but warm. Weather will be fine tonight. Tonight’s game will begin at 8pm ET and you catch watch on ESPN. Enjoy the Bernie ceremony and the game.

Roster Move: As expected, the Yankees have called up Jacob Lindgren from Triple-A. Branden Pinder was send down to clear a 25-man roster spot and Brendan Ryan (calf, hamstring) was transferred to the 60-day DL to clear a 40-man roster spot. Ryan’s already been on the DL for 50 days and isn’t close to returning, so the move to the 60-day doesn’t really change anything.

Injury Update: Masahiro Tanaka (wrist, forearm) threw a 31-pitch bullpen session this afternoon and felt great. He’s scheduled to make his second Triple-A rehab start on Wednesday … Carlos Beltran is out of the lineup with flu-like symptoms and could miss more than just today.

Game 42: Big Mike Back Home

BIG MIKE IS HERE

The Yankees are finally back home in the Bronx. They played 15 of their last 19 and 25 of their last 35 games on the road — not surprisingly, they’ve played the most road games in MLB — but are now home for a six-game homestand, which starts tonight against the Rangers. Nineteen of their next 31 games will be at Yankee Stadium.

It’s good to be home, but geez, the Yankees really need to win tonight. They’ve lost seven of their last eight games and haven’t won a non-CC Sabathia start since Michael Pineda struck out 16 Orioles nearly two weeks ago. Big Mike is on the mound tonight and he is the undisputed staff ace while Masahiro Tanaka is on the DL. Time for the ace to end the three-game losing streak and start the homestand off right. Here is the Rangers’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. LF Brett Gardner
  2. RF Carlos Beltran
  3. DH Alex Rodriguez
  4. 1B Mark Teixeira
  5. C Brian McCann
  6. 3B Chase Headley
  7. 2B Stephen Drew
  8. SS Didi Gregorius
  9. CF Slade Heathcott
    RHP Michael Pineda

It was absolutely gorgeous in New York earlier today, but some clouds have rolled in and it’s pretty gloomy right. There’s a very tiny little bit of rain in the forecast but nothing that will impact the game. First pitch is set for 7:05pm ET and can be seen on YES locally and MLB Network nationally. Enjoy the game.

Injury Updates: No timetable yet for Jacoby Ellsbury (knee), who will see the team doctor tonight … Masahiro Tanaka (wrist, forearm) will throw 65 pitches in his next Triple-A rehab start on Wednesday … Chris Martin (elbow) is playing catch and getting close to throwing off a mound … Gregorio Petit (hand) still is unable to swing a bat.

Update: Tanaka to make first AAA rehab start Thursday

(Brian Blanco/Getty)
(Brian Blanco/Getty)

Tuesday: Tanaka will make his first minor league rehab start with Triple-A Scranton on Thursday, the Yankees announced. The RailRiders will be at home playing Durham (Rays) that night. There’s no word on how many pitches or innings Tanaka is scheduled to throw yet. All of his bullpen sessions have been around 30 pitches, so perhaps he’ll throw three innings and 45 pitches Thursday. We’ll see. Tanaka told reporters he is scheduled to throw 45 pitches Thursday.

Monday: Earlier today, Masahiro Tanaka threw a 29-pitch bullpen session at Nationals Park, the Yankees announced. The Yankees have an off-day today and open a quick little two-game series with the Nats tomorrow. Today’s bullpen session was scheduled and is Tanaka’s third as he works his way back from a wrist and forearm issue.

“We just felt that it would be good for him to throw one more, because he hasn’t thrown in a while. We’ll make sure he’s sharp, then he’ll go down and make a rehab start,” said Joe Girardi to Mark Feinsand over the weekend, following Tanaka’s second bullpen session. Apparently Girardi and pitching coach Larry Rothschild mentioned Thursday as a possible rehab start date if today’s bullpen session went well, which it did by all indications.

Both Triple-A Scranton and Double-A Trenton are home Thursday, making them the likely destinations for the rehab start. Unlike Chris Capuano, who basically had to go through an entire Spring Training, Tanaka only needs a tune-up and could make just one or two rehab starts. Not four or five like Capuano, who was pitching in Extended Spring Training for a few weeks before joining one of the minor league clubs.

“I think you have to see where he’s at and how many pitches he gets to (in the first start). The one thing you don’t want is to have to be in a situation where he can only give you three or four innings,” said Girardi to Feinsand. Obviously the Yankees will play it safe with Tanaka, but everyone has insisted the injury was minor from the start, so his rehab could be quick. The Yankees could use him as soon as possible, that’s for sure.

Game 37: Big Mike vs. Even Bigger Chris

BIG MIKE IS HERE

There’s a reason Michael Pineda has been nicknamed Big Mike. The dude is huge. He’s listed at 6-foot-7 and 260 lbs. on the team’s official site, and having been near him in person, I think that sells him short a bit. Pineda’s just a massive human. It’s part of the reason why he’s such an awesome pitcher. Between his height and his long arms, it looks like he’s handing the ball to catcher.

Despite his massive size, Pineda is only the second tallest starting pitcher in tonight’s game. Veteran right-hander Chris Young will be on the bump for the Royals, and he’s listed at 6-foot-10 and 255 lbs. on the team’s official site. A total of 17 pitchers 6-foot-7 or taller have appeared in a game this season and five (five!) are Yankees. One other was on the Yankees last year. Young is taller than all ’em. You don’t see many 6-foot-10 hurlers, not even these days. Here is Kansas City’s lineup and here is New York’s lineup:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. LF Brett Gardner
  3. DH Alex Rodriguez
  4. 1B Mark Teixeira
  5. C Brian McCann
  6. RF Carlos Beltran
  7. 3B Chase Headley
  8. 2B Stephen Drew
  9. SS Didi Gregorius
    RHP Michael Pineda

It’s cloudy and humid in Kansas City, and there is a little bit of rain in the forecast later tonight. Not much, and it shouldn’t be an issue unless the game goes long or something. Tonight’s game will begin a bit after 8pm ET and you’ll be able to watch on WPIX. Enjoy.

Injury Update: Masahiro Tanaka (wrist, forearm) threw a 35-pitch bullpen session as scheduled this afternoon. “I don’t feel it at all,” he told reporters, referring to his troublesome wrist issue … in case you missed it earlier, Chase Whitley (elbow) has been placed on the 15-day DL and Jose Ramirez has been called up.

Game 35: Bounce Back

(Brian Blanco/Getty)
(Brian Blanco/Getty)

Last night’s loss was rather disappointing. It’s tough to swallow a loss like that when a) the Yankees had Chris Archer on the ropes in the first inning, b) Nathan Eovaldi pitched so well, and c) the only reliever used was Dellin Betances. When all three of those things happen, it should typically result in a win. Last night, it didn’t. That’s baseball.

Thankfully, the Yankees have a chance to move on and get back in the win column tonight. They haven’t lost consecutive games in almost exactly a month now, since April 14-15 against the Orioles in Camden Yards. Last night’s loss notwithstanding, the Yankees are kicking some major butt right now, and good teams shake off a loss and don’t let it spiral into a three or four-game losing streak. Here is Tampa Bay’s lineup and here is New York’s lineup:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. LF Brett Gardner
  3. DH Alex Rodriguez
  4. 1B Mark Teixeira
  5. C Brian McCann
  6. RF Carlos Beltran
  7. 3B Stephen Drewlet’s get weird
  8. 2B Jose Pirela
  9. SS Didi Gregorius
    RHP Adam Warren

Another night of rain is in the forecast for St. Petersburg. Good series to play indoors so far. Tonight’s game is scheduled to begin at 7:10pm ET and can be seen on YES. Enjoy the game, folks.

Injury Updates: Masahiro Tanaka (wrist, forearm) will throw his next bullpen session on Friday. He had no issues today after throwing yesterday … Chase Headley is “pretty beat up” according to Joe Girardi, hence the day off.

Injury Updates: Tanaka, Nova, Capuano, Ryan, Lail

Same. (Brian Blanco/Getty)
Same. (Brian Blanco/Getty)

The Yankees and Rays continue their four-game series with the second game at Tropicana Field later tonight. Until then, here are some updates on injured Yankees, courtesy of Chad Jennings, George King, and Bryan Hoch.

  • Masahiro Tanaka (wrist, forearm) threw a 30-pitch bullpen session as scheduled this afternoon. It was his first time throwing off a mound since landing on the DL two weeks ago. Tanaka threw all of his pitches and everything went well. The Yankees are going to see how he feels tomorrow before determining the next step.
  • Ivan Nova (elbow) threw 33 pitches in an Extended Spring Training game earlier today. Joe Girardi and Larry Rothschild were among those in attendance at the team’s complex in Tampa. “I was a little bit excited. It felt like I was doing too much. I guess I was trying to impress the manager and the pitching coach. I don’t know why,” said Nova, who will pitch in another ExST game on Monday.
  • Chris Capuano (quad) is scheduled to throw six innings and 90 pitches for Triple-A Scranton tonight. It’ll be his third and maybe last minor league rehab game. “We shouldn’t really need to see much more than that,” said Girardi. “We’ll make that determination on how he feels, but it’s possible (he could be activated for his next start), yeah.”
  • Brendan Ryan (calf, hamstring) was able to take batting practice yesterday. There’s still no firm timetable for a rehab assignment, let alone a return from the DL. Ryan started the season on the DL with a calf injury before pulling his hamstring a few days ago.
  • Brady Lail, who was hit in the head by a line drive in last night’s Double-A Trenton game, said he is fine on Twitter. Seems like he escaped with no major injuries, which is a minor miracle. Great news. That was scary.