Masahiro Tanaka to throw off a mound tomorrow

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Masahiro Tanaka has been doing long toss since being cleared by the doctors office and tomorrow he’s scheduled to take his next step in returning to the Yankees.

Tanaka will throw a 25 pitch side session tomorrow and this could be the tell-tale sign of where the Yankees are with Tanaka. So far Tanaka has reported no pain, but the Yankees are currently holding their breath.

“If I can’t throw the way I want to throw on the mound or in the bullpen, then there’s no way I’ll be able to throw that in a game,” Tanaka said. “So definitely, the bullpen will be important.”

The bullpen tomorrow is Tanaka throwing all fastballs and Tanaka has yet to actually throw a breaking ball. However, Girardi is being skeptical until he sees Tanaka in a competitive game.

“I’ve said all along I think you need to see him in competition,” manager Joe Girardi said. “That’s when the intensity gets turned up and it’s not controlled. You can somewhat control a bullpen, you can somewhat control live batting practice, but once you get in a game it’s a little bit harder.

“I sure hope (he’ll be back this year),” Girardi said. “That’s why we’re going through it. Obviously you’ve got to find out if it’s the proper thing to do and if his arm going to hold up. You’d hate to shut him down the whole year and then go through it next year. Everything has been positive so far. He said he feels good, but you really don’t ever know.”

Some Notes

Brian McCann is slated to come off the concussion disabled list tomorrow and he didn’t seem as if he had a concussion. He took a mandatory concussion test and Major League Baseball will decide whether McCann can return to the lineup or not.

— The Yankees bullpen has been quite the adventure these last few days, but Joe Girardi isn’t worried a bit.

“No, I think we’ve done a pretty good job of resting them when we’ve needed to rest them,” Girardi said. “It’s a long year and you go through ups and downs. Very few bullpens are ever perfect; I haven’t found one yet, and I’ve been on some teams with some pretty good bullpens. It’s just part of it.”

Joe Maddon did something peculiar with his team: He declared this an “American Legion” series. It’s basically where the Rays just show up right before the game with no stretching or batting practice. That says a lot about the Yankees, doesn’t it?

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