KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- ‘Encouraging’ continues to be the word on Masahiro Tanaka's recovery. New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Saturday that after one more bullpen session on Monday, Tanaka will probably make a minor-league rehab start. Exactly when and at what level remains to be seen.
“He's going to throw another bullpen Monday, then hopefully after that he'll be in a rehab game shortly after that,” Girardi said. “My guess would be that Thursday. We just felt it would be good for him to throw one more (bullpen session). Just to make sure he's sharp.”
Tanaka has been on the DL since April 29 with right wrist tendinitis and a right forearm strain. After his second bullpen session on Friday, he said he felt stronger and threw his entire array of pitches without a problem.
Girardi declined to say when the right-hander, who was 2-1 with a 3.22 ERA when he went out, might return to the majors. But it can't be too quick for the Yanks, who put starter Chase Whitley on the 15-day DL on Friday and took a four-game losing streak into their game Saturday night against Kansas City.
“I think you have to go each step of the way. See how [Tanaka] feels after Monday,” said Girardi. “If that goes well, then he'll go on a rehab start and see how he responds to that, how many pitches we get him up to, and go from there. What you don't want is for him to have to go just three or four innings.”
In the meantime, the Yankees sought to shore up their depleted pitching by bringing up right-hander Bryan Mitchell from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Back from rehab and set to make his first appearance for the Yankees in 2015 is left-hander Chris Capuano, who suffered a strained quad while covering first in a spring training game. After arriving in the clubhouse Saturday and finally donning the major league uniform after almost nine weeks in rehab, he seemed fresh and very eager to get going. He gets his first start on Sunday against the Royals.
“I feel great,” Capuano said. “The last game I threw down in Norfolk, especially the last few innings, I really started to feel strong and the pitches were really sharp. So I feel good and excited to go. [The quad has] felt good for three-four weeks now. But once it felt good, I basically had to go through spring training again.”