Yankees encouraged by Masahiro Tanaka’s bullpen session
ST. PETERSBURG — The Yankees deemed Masahiro Tanaka’s return to the mound to be a success, as the right-hander threw 30 pitches and used his full repertoire in the Tropicana Field bullpen prior to Tuesday’s game against the Rays.
The pitches were Tanaka’s first off a hill since he was placed on the disabled list April 29 with a strained right forearm and tendinitis in his right wrist.
“It felt good, coming out really good from my hand,” Tanaka said through an interpreter. “Happy about it.”
“He looked fine. It was a good progression,” pitching coach Larry Rothschild said. “He threw all his pitches, had no problems. We’ll see how he is tomorrow.”
Tanaka will have at least one more side session before being cleared for rehab starts, and manager Joe Girardi said that they will wait to see how he feels Wednesday. General manager Brian Cashman has said that Tanaka could be making big league starts in early June, but Tanaka is unsure of his time frame.
“I’ve got to see how I do in my first rehab start,” Tanaka said. “I’ll probably get a feel for where I’m at once I throw that first start. Obviously I have to see how the coaches, manager, see how I do. It kind of all depends on that.”
Also on Tuesday, right-hander Ivan Nova threw 33 pitches, broken into three innings, during an Extended Spring outing in Tampa, Fla. with manager Joe Girardi and pitching coach Larry Rothschild in attendance. Nova is recovering from Tommy John surgery conducted last April and is expected back this summer.
“He got through the three innings fine,” Rothschild said. “The velocity was good. The location was good, which is unusual for a guy coming back at this point. He spun the ball well; some good curveballs. It’s just building up the stamina now and making sure you get through all the paces. We’re not going to rush it.”
Left-hander Chris Capuano is scheduled to throw 85 to 90 pitches Tuesday for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre at Norfolk and could be close to big league ready.
“He should be, depending on functionality,” Rothschild said. “He’s got to be ready to get people out here and have command of the pitches that you need to get by here.”
Girardi said it is still too early to think about how Capuano, Nova and Tanaka will rejoin the rotation.
“I don’t think you really worry too much about it until you have to make a decision about what you’re going to do because other things can creep up,” Girardi said. “As I’ve said before, sometimes you can waste a lot of energy doing that.”