01162018

Masahiro Tanaka heading back to New York after feeling ‘general soreness’ in arm

Masahiro Tanaka's rehab hits a road bump after he reports 'general soreness' in his right arm a day after throwing 49 pitches in a simuated game.Corey Sipkin/New York Daily News Masahiro Tanaka’s rehab hits a road bump after he reports ‘general soreness’ in his right arm a day after throwing 49 pitches in a simuated game.



TORONTO — Masahiro Tanaka threw his first big-league pitch right here in Toronto back in April. After Tanaka’s latest setback, when he’ll throw his next one is as murky as ever.


Tanaka’s road back to the majors hit a speed bump on Friday as the pitcher was experiencing what he called “general soreness” in his right arm.


The Yankees ace threw a 49-pitch simulated game Thursday in Detroit, reporting after the exercise that he felt the “normal soreness” pitchers feel after throwing. Roughly 24 hours later, the Yankees announced that Tanaka would be heading back to New York after complaining of continued soreness, putting his comeback on hold.


“I want to be a little bit cautious,” Tanaka said through his interpreter. “I haven’t been throwing for a couple of weeks and then I started throwing again and built up the number of pitches that I’ve been throwing. I think that’s the reason why there’s a little bit of extra soreness in the arm itself.”


Tanaka, who was diagnosed with a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow in early July, said the discomfort was not limited to his forearm or elbow, but rather the entire arm.


“There’s not a specific spot; it’s just throughout the arm that’s sore,” Tanaka said. “I’m glad that it’s not the elbow itself.”


Tanaka stressed that the feeling in his arm was “not pain,” although it should be noted that the sore areas included his forearm, which can often be related to the type of ligament injury he’s trying to rehab.


Tanaka is not scheduled to see a doctor this weekend, although Joe Girardi said the pitcher would be examined by team physician Dr. Chris Ahmad at the Stadium on Tuesday.


“Is there concern? Of course there’s a concern,” Girardi said. “But when we ask him, ‘Is there one spot?’ he does not point to one spot. He just says ‘general soreness,’ so he wants time to physically catch up a little bit here. He’s been going every five days.


“I’ve said all along, this is something we’re either going to know or not know when he gets into competition. Right now he’s having a little setback. Let’s hope that’s all it is.”


Tanaka will continue working out at the Stadium, preferring the facilities at his home ballpark to those at Rogers Centre.


“I feel that my body needs a little bit more training or strengthening,” said Tanaka, who will also continue to play catch and long toss. “In order to get myself into the best shape possible, I feel that I still need a little bit of time.”


Girardi said that Tanaka has not been shut down, but rather had his schedule pushed back.


“As I’ve said, if you shut him down, it’s surgery,” Girardi said. “It’s not like it’s going to be, ‘Well, let’s see how it is next year.’ We’re going to proceed and it’s either going to be he’s healthy or he needs surgery.”


Girardi said Tanaka would probably not throw off a mound again for at least a week, bringing his potential September return into question. He will have to throw at least two simulated games before he returns, and with only four weeks remaining in the regular season, time might be working against the righthander.


“I think we’ll play it out this week to see where we’re at,” Girardi said. “He’s going to continue to play catch and do some exercises that a pitcher would normally do and we’ll go from there.


“None of us are really going to know until he gets back on the mound, so you just kind of wait.”


Tanaka didn’t discuss how this latest setback could affect his plan to pitch again in September, but the rookie remains hopeful that he will pitch again in 2014.


“We did not have that conversation, but for myself, I definitely would like to come back this season,” Tanaka said. “We still have a whole month left. I’m going to go ahead and strengthen this and do my best to try to get back.”







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