Yankees News: Masahiro Tanaka 'Responding Well' in Recovery from Concussion

Blake SchusterAnalyst IJuly 12, 2020

New York Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka is tended to by team medical personnel after being hit by a ball off the bat of Yankees Giancarlo Stanton during a baseball a workout at Yankee Stadium in New York, Saturday, July 4, 2020. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
Adam Hunger/Associated Press

New York Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka was back on the field at Yankee Stadium on Saturday only a week removed from being hit on the head with a line drive off the bat of Giancarlo Stanton. 

Tanaka played catch in a rain-shortened session. 

"He has been able to play catch a couple times now," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said, per Max Goodman of Sports Illustrated. "He's responding well to the elevated heart-rate stuff where he's on the bike, on the elliptical, doing his arm-care work and responding well."

New York initially placed Tanaka into MLB's concussion protocol after he was released from a local hospital following the incident. 

"Anytime we're talking about a concussion, we're making sure we're moving slowly and smartly," Boone said. "So, no plan in place about when exactly things are going to happen, but he is at least responding how we how we hoped."

The Yankees still have 12 days before their season opener against the defending World Series champion Washington Nationals on July 23. The game is scheduled as the first official contest of the season, but it's unlikely Tanaka would be in line to start even if he's cleared. 

Gerrit Cole, who signed a nine-year, $324 million deal to join the Yankees during the offseason, will serve as the team's No. 1 starter.

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Still, New York is focused on how lucky Tanaka was not to sustain a more serious injury. Goodman reports the line drive that hit the 31-year-old was clocked at 112 miles per hour. 

Even Tanaka's fellow starting pitchers are impressed with his recovery.

"It's amazing. He seems great; he seems completely normal," teammate James Paxton said. "I think we got extremely lucky in that situation, it could have been way worse and he's bounced back incredibly."

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