Joe Girardi On WFAN: No Easy Blueprint To Getting Tanaka Back On Track

NEW YORK (WFAN) — Yankees fans aren’t the only ones who have been frustrated with Masahiro Tanaka. Yankees manager Joe Girardi says Tanaka himself is extremely disappointed with his performance this season.

“I think it’s really hard on him, and I think he’s extremely hard on himself,” Girardi said during his weekly appearance on Mike Francesa’s WFAN show. “We hear when he gives up two hits how hard he is (on himself). So I think he’s extremely frustrated. I think he’s trying — and maybe it’s to a point where he’s trying too hard.”

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Tanaka is 5-6 this season with a 6.55 ERA. In a losing effort against the Red Sox on Tuesday, the right-hander allowed five runs — including three homers — over five innings.

Girardi and pitching coach Larry Rothschild are desperate to get their ace back on track.

“There’s obviously things that we’re trying to do all the time to get him consistent,” Girardi said. “Larry’s working day in, day out. We’re looking at things day in and day out.

“Right now, he’s on rotation to pitch for Sunday. If we make a change, we’ll make a change, but as of right now, our thought process is he’s going to pitch on Sunday.”

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Girardi reiterated there is no indication that Tanaka is dealing with an injury.

“When your stuff is usually inconsistent, it’s some type of mechanic,” he said. “Your arm works right the one time, and then it’s maybe a little late. But he’s never really had this problem before. The blueprint to solving this problem is not so simple.”

INJURY UPDATES

First baseman Greg Bird has joined Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre as part of his rehab assignment. In six games with Single-A Tampa, he hit .353 with no homers.

“We have not made any decisions (about when he’ll be) coming back,” Girardi said. “We’ll continue to follow his progress. I think he’s played in the field only two days in a row so far at this point. He’s DH’ed some. He’s swinging the bat pretty decent.”

A bone bruise on his right ankle has kept Bird out of the Yankees’ lineup since May 1. Girardi said there appears to be no issues with the foot now.

Girardi said it “very, very possible” closer Aroldis Chapman could be back in about a week, when the Yankees visit the Oakland A’s for a four-game series.

Chapman is scheduled to throw a simulated game in Tampa on Saturday and then is expected to pitch a couple of rehab games. The left-hander has been out since May 12 with rotator cuff inflammation in his pitching arm.

Center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury is feeling better and is trying to increase his physical activity a little each day to ensure his headaches don’t return, Girardi said. Ellsbury suffered a concussion when he crashed into the Yankee Stadium wall chasing a ball against the Royals on May 24.

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