Mashairo Tanaka throws off a mound

Masahiro Tanaka 19

As promised, Masahiro Tanaka threw off a Major League mound for the first time since partially tearing his UCL. He threw 25 fastballs to home plate and this was a significant step for him. Mainly because, Tanaka felt no pain in his elbow whatsoever.

“I think we’re heading in the right direction,” Tanaka said. “So I feel really good about it.”

He wasn’t throwing at 100%, but he did say this bullpen session was better than his first bullpen session in Spring Training back in February.

“I felt that I was able to throw the way that wanted to,” he said. “… I was able to get through it without any pain.”

Joe Girardi usually keeps a reserved demeanor when talking about Tanaka and his progress in the past, but the Yankees manager couldn’t contain his excitement when Tanaka was able to get through the biggest step. This was far more than just playing a game of catch; Masahiro Tanaka was one step closer to returning to the mound.

Tanaka hopes to throw breaking balls in his next bullpen session, but so far he’s made great progress. It’s beginning to look like a September return could be a legitimate possibility.

Some Notes

— Yankees catcher Brian McCann wasn’t activated from the disabled list today, but he’s hoping he could come off the DL tomorrow for the series finale against the Tampa Bay Rays. McCann was placed on the DL last week with a mild concussion.

Carlos Beltran was placed in the outfield for the first time since May 11, and he’s anticipating the Rays testing out his arm.

“Everybody knows I got an elbow issue.” Beltran said.

— With the Yankees playing a double header on September 12, they will play 21 games in the final 20 days of the season.

— Will the Yankees score some runs today? I don’t know, but I sure hope so. I’d also like a win, thank you very much. It feels like an eternity since the Yankees last won a game.

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