The New York Yankees were so pleased with Japanese sensation Masahiro Tanaka's performance last Sunday, that they are giving the right-hander another start this Saturday at Fenway Park against the Red Sox. Tanaka allowed just a single run on five hits in 5 1/3 innings in a 5-2 victory over the Blue Jays.
The Yanks shut the rookie down in July with a partially torn ligament in his right elbow. Instead of going ahead with Tommy John surgery, which would have sidelined Tanaka for 12-16 months, doctors instead recommended rehab with a "wait and see" plan.
Tanaka reported feeling good after his Sunday start. "From where I am right now, I should be able to have a good offseason of training on what I want to do and I should be good to go next season," Tanaka said through his translator.
Tanaka experienced only general soreness after throwing 70 pitches on Sunday. Manager Joe Giradi said about Tanaka, "He was all smiles today, which was good."
Before being sidelined with the injury, the 25-year-old pitcher was everything the Yankees could have asked for after signing a $175 million contract last winter. In his first 14 starts, Tanaka was sensational, going 11-1 with a 1.99 ERA.
It looks like the Yankees will most likely fail to make the post season for the second year in a row. They are currently three games out of the Wild Card with only six games left to play.
Tanaka will need to come back strong next season if the Yanks want to get back to playing October baseball. Their rotation for next spring is very much in flux. CC Sabathia will be coming off knee surgery, Ivan Nova may not pitch at all next year as he recovers from Tommy John surgery, and Hiroki Kuroda may opt to retire instead of signing another one-year deal with the team.
The Yankees are set to face the Baltimore Orioles tonight at Yankee Stadium at 7:05 ET. The Orioles have already clinched the AL East, while the Yanks are hoping for a miracle.