Masahiro Tanaka Injury: Updates on Yankees Star's Arm and Return

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistJuly 9, 2014

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Updates from Saturday, Sept. 27

Joel Sherman of the New York Post indicates the Yankees are being cautious with Masahiro Tanaka, as the team approaches the end of the season:

Joel Sherman @Joelsherman1

Girardi said no health issues with Tanaka, pulled because threw a lot of pitches #Yankees

Updates from Sunday, Sept. 21

Bryan Hoch of MLB.com confirms Masahiro Tanaka will start today:

Bryan Hoch @BryanHoch

Yankees lineup: Gardner 8 Jeter DH McCann 2 Young 7 Headley 5 Cervelli 3 Drew 4 Ichiro 9 Ryan 6 Tanaka RHP

Updates from Saturday, Sept. 20

Jake Kring-Schreifels of MLB.com provides an update on Masahiro Tanaka's recovery and return:

After a successful bullpen session Thursday and some more long-toss throwing Friday, Masahiro Tanaka appears ready to make his first start since early July on Sunday.

Manager Joe Girardi indicated that he will limit Tanaka to about 70-75 pitches in his first outing back, but the circumstances may change based on how he feels.

George King of the New York Post shares additional details about Tanaka's imminent return:

The Yankees are hoping Masahiro Tanaka's start Sunday against the Blue Jays is the first of two before the season ends.

'If everything goes well Sunday he will start again,' manager Joe Girardi said before the Yankees' 5-3 victory over Toronto on Friday.


Three simulated games, numerous bullpen sessions and countless games of catch later, Tanaka is ready to face big league hitters.

Girardi said the Yankees will wait to see how much rest Tanaka would have between Sunday's outing and a second start.

'Let's see where we are at and how he does on Sunday,' Girardi said. 'My initial inkling would be on his sixth day.'

Updates from Tuesday, Sept. 16

YES Network's Jack Curry shares a major development regarding Tanaka's status:

Jack Curry @JackCurryYES

Tanaka is tentatively scheduled to start for the Yankees on Sunday, Girardi told reporters.

Buster Olney of ESPN provides his take on the decision:

Buster Olney @Buster_ESPN

Makes sense for NYY to pitch Tanaka. If it turns out he's hurt, he has Tommy John. If functional, he's lined up for '15. That info has value

Updates from Monday, Sept. 15

Brendan Kuty of NJ.com reported on Masahiro Tanaka's simulated game:

Brendan Kuty @BrendanKutyNJ

Tanaka five innings, 4 K, 6 hits, 2 doubles, 0 walks. 65 pitches. Didn't look so good. #Yankees

Chad Jennings of The Journal News passed along quotes from Tanaka following his outing:

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'Feels good,” he said. “I feel alright.

Although Tanaka sounded satisfied that he’s generally healthy, he seemed less sold on the idea that his stuff is ready to pitch well in a big league game. He said his fastball topped
out at 92 mph. Asked whether he would tell Joe Girardi that he’s ready to pitch for the Yankees this weekend, Tanaka was noncommittal.

'I don’t know,” he said. “It’s hard to say.'

Joe Girardi also commented on Tanaka and his potential return to the Yankees (via Mark Feinsand of the NY Daily News):

Mark Feinsand @Feinsand

Girardi says it's "very possible" that Tanaka's next outing could be for the Yankees.

Updates from Wednesday, Sept. 10

CBS Sports' Mike Axisa has an update on Tanaka's progress:

Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka will pitch in a minor league game on Monday, manager Joe Girardi told reporters. It will be his first actual game action since suffering a partially torn elbow ligament in early July.

Tanaka, 25, is scheduled to pitch in an Instructional League game since the minor league season is over. Girardi indicated that if Monday's outing goes well, Tanaka could rejoin the Yankees next weekend. No plans are finalized, however.

Updates from Tuesday, Sept. 9

YES Network's Meredith Marakovits has an update on Tanaka's status:

Meredith Marakovits @M_Marakovits

Tanaka threw about 44pitches in sim game (3 innings) ... He will address the media shortly #yankees

ESPN New York's Wallace Matthews reports on when the team expects Tanaka to return: 

Masahiro Tanaka could be one more rehab start away from returning to the major leagues, New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi said on Tuesday.

Tanaka, on the disabled list since July 9 with a torn ulnar collateral ligament, threw a three-inning simulated game against four teammates at Yankee Stadium before Tuesday night's game against the Rays. Afterward, Girardi said Tanaka might need just one more start -- either another simulated game or perhaps an instructional league start in against minor leaguers in Tampa -- before making a big-league start for the Yankees.

"I think that's possible to look at," Girardi said.

Updates from Saturday, Sept. 6

Brendan Kuty of NJ.com provides an update on Masahiro Tanaka's status:

Brendan Kuty @BrendanKutyNJ

Masahiro Tanaka said his bullpen session went well. Threw 34 pitches. Hopes to pitch for #yankees this season.

Brendan Kuty @BrendanKutyNJ

Tanaka added that he feels a lot stronger. No more arm fatigue/soreness. #Yankees

Updates from Thursday, Sept. 4

Mark Feinsand of the NY Daily News has the latest update on Masahiro Tanaka's rehab:

Mark Feinsand @Feinsand

Girardi said Tanaka will throw a bullpen on Saturday.

Updates from Tuesday, Sept. 2

Tanaka was placed on the 60-day disabled list, according to the Yankees' official Twitter feed:

Dan Martin of the New York Post passed along an update on Tanaka's rehab:

Chad Jennings of LoHud.com reported more on Tanaka's injured arm:

Joe Girardi also commented on Tanaka (via Andrew Marchand of ESPN):

"Every manual test that they did came out really well," Girardi said. "They just said he had some arm fatigue and he is scheduled to throw a bullpen sometime this week. Hopefully, he is ready to do it."

Girardi had no timetable for when Tanaka possibly could be on a major league mound again. In 18 starts, Tanaka was 12-4 with a 2.51 ERA this season.

Updates from Sunday, Aug. 31

Brendan Kuty of NJ.com reported on the next steps for Masahiro Tanaka:

Updates from Friday, Aug. 29

WFAN's Sweeny Murti has the latest on Tanaka's potential comeback:

YES Network's Jack Curry has more:

Updates from Thursday, Aug. 28

Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports on whether Joe Girardi believes Masahiro Tanaka will pitch again this season:

Brian Hoch of MLB.com added details from Tanaka's throwing session and comments from the pitcher:

Tanaka threw 49 pitches in a three-inning simulated game, using his full repertoire to Brendan Ryan, who rode the early bus and batted from both sides of the plate. Ryan said that he thinks the rehabbing right-hander looks close to big league ready.

"The pinpoint [command] is probably going to be the last thing to come. I would expect that to be there pretty soon," Ryan said. "He can go out there and get outs now, just on stuff alone. The sooner the better. I'd say it was a pretty good day."

Tanaka said that he has been feeling only normal soreness, another good sign as he attempts to avoid Tommy John surgery. He expressed dissatisfaction with some of his pitches, having thrown his slider, splitter, curveball and both fastballs in the session.

"I think some of the balls I am throwing, I'm still not able to hit my spots," Tanaka said through an interpreter. "The rust is still there, so I still have some work to do to get back to game-ready."

Updates from Wednesday, Aug. 27

Masahiro Tanaka will be taking the field tomorrow, according to Jon Morosi of Fox Sports:

Updates from Friday, Aug. 23

Andrew Marchand of ESPN.com reports on Tanaka's rehab:

Meredith Marakovitz of YES Network details how the session went:

Updates from Thursday, Aug. 21

Mike Axisa of CBS Sports has the latest on Masahiro Tanaka:

For the first time since suffering a partially torn elbow ligament the week before the All-Star break, Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka will throw to hitters on Saturday, manager Joe Girardi announced. He is scheduled to throw a round of live batting practice.

Tanaka, 25, has been on a throwing program for several weeks and threw off a mound for the second time on Wednesday. That throwing session including breaking balls and splitters for the first time. He threw 35 pitches overall.

Updates from Wednesday, Aug. 20

Bryan Hoch of MLB.com reported on Tanaka's progress:

After the game Tanaka talked through an interpreter about the outing, via Hoch.

"It went well," Tanaka said, "but it was actually my first time throwing breaking balls—something other than fastball—in the bullpen, so I felt it was a little bit rusty. I'll have to brush that up a little bit.

Girardi also shared his thoughts.

"The fact that he felt good today was encouraging," Girardi said. "We'll see how he feels tomorrow; obviously that's really important. But he was able to throw his curveball, his slider and his split; I watched it and he looked pretty good."

Updates from Saturday, Aug. 16

Bryan Hoch of MLB.com reported that the session went well:

Hoch provided an update on Masahiro Tanaka's recovery:

Masahiro Tanaka is scheduled to throw 25 pitches off of a bullpen mound on Saturday at Tropicana Field, which will mark the right-hander's first time throwing from the rubber since a July 8 start against the Indians.


"I still think it's early to tell, but we're getting through each step," manager Joe Girardi said. "Hopefully tomorrow goes well and we can move to the next step."

Tanaka threw long toss and performed fielding practice from the mound on Friday afternoon, and he said that actually throwing off the mound will be a crucial step in his recovery.

"I think so," Tanaka said through an interpreter. "If I can't throw the way I want to throw on a mound or in a bullpen, then there's no way I'll be able to throw that in a game. So, definitely the bullpen will be important."

Brandon Kuty of NJ.com shared more from Joe Girardi:

Hoch provides Tanaka's take:

Updates from Friday, Aug. 15

David Waldstein of The New York Times has an encouraging update on Tanaka's status:

Updates from Wednesday, Aug. 13

ESPN New York's Wallace Matthews provides an update on Masahiro Tanaka's injury:

Tanaka is continuing his rehab with the team, according to Matthews:

Sweeny Murti of WFAN also had more on Tanaka:

Updates from Thursday, Aug. 7

MLB updated Masahiro Tanaka's status via its Twitter feed:

Updates from Tuesday, Aug. 5

Yankees GM Brian Cashman has a rough estimate of when to expect Masahiro Tanaka's return, per Daniel Barbarisi of The Wall Street Journal:

MLB.com's Jake Kring-Schreifels provides updates from Tanaka and manager Joe Girardi:

"I wasn't worried, I think I was more excited to be able to throw," said Tanaka through an interpreter. "I think I got to the next step, so I'm every relieved about that."


"You look at it as a start, really," said Yankees manager Joe Girardi. "Obviously, if there was discomfort, that would be very discouraging. So, it is a positive day. But there's still a long way to go, and you've got to plow through. He knows what he needs to do."

Meredith Marakovits of YES Network provides more details:

Updates from Monday, Aug. 4

Yankees reporter Sweeny Murti of WFAN in New York shared good news on Masahiro Tanaka's workout Monday:

Brendan Kuty of NJ.com reported on the next step for Tanaka:

Updates from Sunday, Aug. 3

Sweeny Murti of WFAN reported on Masahiro Tanaka's rehab:

Updates from Wednesday, July 24

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman spoke about Masahiro Tanaka and his rehab program (via Bryan Hoch of MLB.com):

Updates from Friday, July 18

Andrew Marchand of ESPN provides comments from Masahiro Tanaka, who is unsure whether he will return to the mound this season:

At this point, I'm just going with what the doctors are telling me," Tanaka said. "Their decision was not to go with surgery so that's pretty much it."

On Monday, Tanaka had a platelet-rich plasma injection in his pitching elbow. He is now resting until the elbow does not hurt at all.

"When he is symptom-free, he will start a throwing program," general manager Brian Cashman said.

Tanaka said once he starts to throw, it will be realistic to map out a return. The initial diagnosis called for six weeks of healing time. That was a little more than a week ago.

Updates from Saturday, July 12

Brendan Kuty of NJ.com reports that Masahiro Tanaka will not be in attendance at the All-Star Game:

Masahiro Tanaka could attend Tuesday's All-Star Game, but he's not.

Instead, the 25-year-old will focus on treating his ailing right elbow, manager Joe Girardi said.

"It's really unfortunate," Girardi said of Tanaka's injury. "He had a great first half. He's unable to be part of it but, for some reason, I think he's going to get to go to another one."

Updates from Friday, July 11

Sporting News' Jesse Spector has Tanaka's statement on his injury:

Updates from Thursday, July 10

NJ.com's Brendan Kuty, Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan and MLB.com's Bryan Hoch have a verdict on Tanaka:

Kuty and Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News had more from Brian Cashman:

Feinsand relayed an update on Tanaka's injury from manager Joe Girardi:

Will Carroll of Bleacher Report reported on the next steps in Tanaka's diagnosis:

Hoch stated that Tanaka would be meeting with specialist Dr. Christopher Ahmad:

Original Text

Coming off his two worst outings of the season, against Minnesota and Cleveland, New York Yankees rookie Masahiro Tanaka is feeling the sting of pitching every fifth day in Major League Baseball. 

The starting pitcher was placed on the disabled list with elbow inflammation, via Bryan Hoch of MLB.com:

This was after the original report from George A. King III of the New York Post that Tanaka was going back to New York following his Tuesday start to have an MRI on his pitching arm:

Bleacher Report's Will Carroll has more details on the nature of Tanaka's injury:

Dan Barbarisi of The Wall Street Journal reported more specifics:

MLB PR reveals Tanaka's replacement in the All-Star Game:

Tanaka provided Bryan Hoch of MLB.com with a vague, cryptic response about his struggles against the Indians, which saw him give up a career-high 10 hits and five runs. "I do understand the reason why I was struggling today, but it’s really difficult for me to tell you why that was," he said.

Given all the injuries to New York's pitching staff this year—Joe Girardi has told Chad Jennings of LoHud.com that it's "fair to say" CC Sabathia is out for the rest of the season, Michael Pineda remains an enigma, and Ivan Nova had Tommy John surgery—losing Tanaka for any amount of time is the last thing they can afford. 

As Joel Sherman of the New York Post noted, Tanaka has been the only stable presence giving the Yankees quality innings this season:

The Yankees spent nearly $500 million last winter on Tanaka, Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran to compete for a playoff spot, yet injuries and poor performances have left the team hovering around .500 all season and fighting to stay in the wild-card race. 

Now, with news about Tanaka, panic will likely set in over New York. The Yankees are fortunate that no one else in the American League East has pulled away, with Tampa Bay and Boston bringing up the rear, but they can only tread water so long before the boat breaks. 


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