Japanese Right-Hander's Nearly 50-Pitch Effort Has Yankees Feeling Encouraged

DETROIT (CBSNewYork/AP) — New York Yankees star Masahiro Tanaka threw 49 pitches in a simulated game Thursday and did not report any unusual pain as he recovers from a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament.

The Japanese right-hander is 12-4 with a 2.51 ERA in his first season in the majors, but he hasn’t pitched since July 8.

Manager Joe Girardi said Tanaka didn’t shy away from any of his pitches Thursday, and Tanaka said any soreness he felt was normal for a session like that.

Tanaka said through an interpreter that it’s easy to tell the difference between pain from his injury and more normal soreness.

The Yankees have used 12 starting pitchers this season, their highest total since 2008, when they used 13.

Tanaka has been brought along gradually since receiving a platelet-rich injection six weeks ago. He has graduated from long-tossing to higher intensity bullpen sessions, using his entire arsenal in recent outings.

The simulated game on Thursday could be an indicator of Tanaka soon being ready to rejoin the Yankees (69-62), who went into Thursday’s day game against the Tigers 2 1/2 games out of the second wild card spot.

You May Also Be Interested In These Stories

[display-posts category=”sports” wrapper=”ul” posts_per_page=”4″]

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)