As expected, Masahiro Tanaka played catch for the second consecutive day today and everything went well, Joe Girardi confirmed. Tanaka made 50 throws with increased intensity from 60 feet, so he doubled yesterday’s workload. Long way to go obviously, but so far, so good.
3:43pm: Turns out it was only a 25-pitch throwing session, but that’s fine. Jack Curry says Tanaka threw from 60 feet off flat ground. “I think I got to the next step, so I’m very relieved about that,” said the righty to Dan Barbarisi. Tanaka will increase both the number of throws and distance in his next throwing session tomorrow.
2:11pm: As expected, Masahiro Tanaka played catch today for the first time since suffering a partially torn elbow ligament and receiving a platelet-rich plasma injection three weeks ago. Sweeny Murti says he made 50 throws and “felt good” with “no pain.”
Needless to say, that’s great news, though we still have to see how Tanaka feels in the coming days. Joe Girardi will surely talk more about the throwing session and the next step in Tanaka’s rehab when he speaks to the media at 4pm ET or so, so make sure you check back for an update.
Masahiro Tanaka will play catch on Monday for the first time since suffering a partially torn elbow ligament and receiving a platelet-rich plasma injection, Brian Cashman confirmed to George King. “He’ll definitely throw. He’s already told the doctors that he feels better,” said a source to Wally Matthews.
Tanaka received his injection three weeks ago and was examined by team doctor Christopher Ahmad on Friday, which is apparently when he was given the okay to play catch. If things go well on Monday, he’ll continue to move forward with his rehab and throwing program. If not, then he’s likely looking at Tommy John surgery. Cashman said that if all goes well, Tanaka could rejoin the rotation in September. The Yankees definitely need him. Fingers crossed.
Right-hander Masahiro Tanaka is apparently progressing well after receiving platelet-rich plasma treatment for his partially torn elbow ligament. He is scheduled to be re-examined on Monday, three weeks out from the injection. “When we get home we’ll see what the doctors say and what the next plan is for him, but I know he feels much, much better,” said Joe Girardi to Chad Jennings yesterday.
Tanaka has been out for a month now, and, at the time of his initial diagnosis, the hope was that he could resume pitching in six weeks. That’s only two weeks away now. From what I understand, Monday’s exam is a critical point in his rehab. If the tests show his ligament is healing, then the treatment is working. If not, then in all likelihood he will have to undergo Tommy John surgery. It’s great that Tanaka is feeling better, but how he feels and what the tests show on Monday are two separate things.
From the obvious news department: ticket sales receive the highest bump in games started by Masahiro Tanaka than any other pitcher in baseball, according to Brian Costa. Data released by StubHub says sales on the secondary market increase 73% when Tanaka is on the mound. Justin Verlander (69%) is second and Jeff Samardzija (68%) is third. The drop-off to the fourth place pitcher is pretty big — Chris Sale is at 29%.
When the Yankees signed Tanaka over the winter, it was obvious his appeal extended beyond his on-field impact. The Yankees know firsthand how marketable and profitable international players can be, especially Japanese players after having megastars like Hideki Matsui and Ichiro Suzuki spent time in the Bronx. Just how much extra cash they make due to these players is unknown but I’m sure it’s substantial. That 73% bump in ticket sales is just a piece of the revenue-generating Tanaka pie.
After taking full batting practice on the field before the game, Mark Teixeira came off the bench as a pinch-hitter last night. That’s a pretty good indication he’s over his mild lat strain and will return to the starting lineup tonight. Here are some more injury updates, courtesy of Bryan Hoch, Chad Jennings, and George King.
- Masahiro Tanaka (elbow) is still in New York and continues to receive treatment. Apparently three weeks out from the platelet-rich plasma injection has some sort of importance as far as knowing whether it’s working. Tanaka received his injection two weeks ago yesterday, so another six days to go. “Nothing’s really going to change until the three-week mark. He’s staying back and doing treatment every day. He feels better and better. You just kind of wait to see where you are after three weeks,” said Joe Girardi.
- Michael Pineda (shoulder) is scheduled to throw 45-50 pitches in three simulated innings down in Tampa today. If that goes well, they’ll continue stretching him out, and eventually he’ll head out on an official minor league rehab assignment. “As long as he feels good and is throwing the ball well, there’d be no reason not to bring him back. It’s the same as Spring Training. You build them up, when they’re ready to go, you send them,” said Girardi.
- Carlos Beltran (elbow) is already throwing from 100-120 feet as part of his throwing program. He has not had any problems or discomfort, and there is a chance he can return to the outfield as early as next week, when the team returns home. Beltran isn’t good defensively, but not being married to the DH spot will give Girardi some more lineup flexibility.
- Masahiro Tanaka (elbow) still has some pain after receiving his platelet-rich plasma injection. “He’s improved, but he still feels it on a daily basis. It’s not good that he’s still feeling it at this stage. (We’ll just) go day by day, week by week and adjust accordingly,” said Brian Cashman.
- CC Sabathia (knee) had his clean-up surgery as scheduled yesterday and everything went “as planned,” the Yankees announced. “I don’t know if we’ll see him. Obviously he’s not allowed to travel for a few days, so we’ll probably see him when we get back from the road trip,” said Joe Girardi.
- Michael Pineda (shoulder) was scheduled to throw two innings and 30 pitches in a simulated game today, but it was rained out. He threw two innings inside and will stretch it out to 45-50 pitches in the coming days. If all goes well, Cashman said Pineda would return to the rotation “sometime in August.”
- The decision whether to place Mark Teixeira (lat) on the disabled list will be made tomorrow. “It’s just seeing how he feels after three or four days, and then we’ll decide if we think it’s going to be in the near future that he would play, or if we’re going to need the 15 days. If it’s going to be 12, 13, 14 days, it probably make sense to get a player,” said Girardi.
- Kelly Johnson (groin) has a Grade I strain and is not expected to miss more than the minimum 15 days.