Masahiro Tanaka’s rehab is going so well, he feels comfortable describing his progress without the help of a translator.
“Good,” Tanaka told a group of reporters in English. “Better.”
Tanaka returned to his normal interview protocol for the details of today’s session, but the right-hander is clearly excited about his situation. Tanaka threw 35 pitches in the Yankee Stadium bullpen, a mix of fastballs, curveballs and sliders. He also snapped off five splitters, which is fairly significant considering the torque that Tanaka’s signature pitch requires.
“It went well, but it was actually my first time throwing breaking balls – something other than fastballs – in the bullpen, so I felt it was a little bit rusty,” Tanaka said through an interpreter. “I’ll have to brush that up a little bit.”
Manager Joe Girardi said that the Yankees have no plans to ask Tanaka for another MRI, checking on the progress of his right ulnar collateral ligament tear. As long as Tanaka continues to feel no discomfort, they will continue his program, which could soon advance to live batting practice, then simulated games and possibly Minor League games. Their hope is to get him on the big league mound in September.
“The fact that he felt good today was encouraging,” Girardi said. “We’ll see how he feels tomorrow; obviously that’s really important. But he was able to throw his curveball, his slider and his split; I watched it and he looked pretty good.”
Carlos Beltran was in the original Yankees lineup tonight, but it never made it off of Joe Girardi’s desk. Beltran informed the club that he is having more issues with discomfort in his right elbow, and he has been scheduled to see team physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad tonight.
Beltran has been dealing with this issue since May, and swinging the bat will occasionally create a sensation in the elbow. This situation is different because it continued overnight, Girardi said.
“I took him out of the lineup, he’ll see the doctor and we’ll find out what’s going on,” Girardi said. “I’m sure it’s much of the same of what he had going on before, but for whatever reason it was a little worse today in a sense that he still felt it whereas other times he didn’t.”
Girardi said that it is too early to call this a major setback, and hopes that Beltran can return to the lineup in a day or two. Girardi also said that he doesn’t draw a link between Beltran’s return to outfield duty and the recurrence of the injury.
“No, because he’s felt it on swings, not in the outfield,” Girardi said. “He didn’t really have a lot of action in the outfield, so he didn’t really have to make any throws or anything like that. It seems to be more from a swing than from throwing.”
CC Sabathia is disappointed to know for sure that his season is over, but the Yankees left-hander said on Saturday that he is relieved to be avoiding microfracture surgery, which could have put his career in jeopardy.
Sabathia is scheduled to have an arthroscopic debridement performed on Wednesday, cleaning out his right knee. Sabathia said that Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who will perform the surgery, is confident that the hurler will be able to be on the mound by Spring Training.
“He feels good about it and I do too,” Sabathia said. “[NBA star] Russell Westbrook had the same surgery and was able to come back and be fine. Obviously you have to deal with a little bit of swelling here and there, but that’s something I have to deal with.
“My goal was to pitch the next five or six years past this contract and to be able to go out and do that. I’m confident I’m going to be able to do that.”
Sabathia, who turns 34 on Monday, has not pitched in the big leagues since May 10, when he started against the Brewers at Miller Park and experienced swelling in his right knee. An MRI showed what the team called “degenerative changes” in the knee.
He was 3-4 with a 5.28 ERA this season and attempted to rehab with the aid of a stem cell injection, but experienced more knee issues after making a Minor League start for Double-A Trenton on July 2.
“I felt like I was on the right path,” Sabathia said. “Waking up that night after, it just didn’t make sense. I couldn’t even come in here and get my workout in and do the stuff that I wanted to do.”
Because of the wear and tear on his knee, there is a possibility that Sabathia will need to have additional arthroscopic procedures down the line. He said that would still be preferable to microfracture surgery, which has produced inconsistent results with athletes.
“It’s something that I’m going to have to deal with probably for the rest of my life and eventually have a big surgery,” Sabathia said. “Right now the goal is to keep playing and this is the easiest way to do it.”
Sabathia said that he should be able to resume activities six to eight weeks after the surgery, but he will be an idle observer as the Yankees fight to claim a postseason spot in the second half.
“It’s not fun, especially the way these guys have been grinding, and wanting to be a part of it,” Sabathia said. “I’ve been doing everything I can to get back out on the field. It’s just unfortunate.
“It’s something I’ve never had to deal with, but I am now. Hopefully this will give me the time to get healthy and come back to be ready to go in Spring Training.”
Shawn Kelley will return to the Yankees bullpen tonight. Kelley has not pitched in a big league game since May 6 due to a lumbar spine strain, but has re-joined the Yankees in Seattle and has been activated from the disabled list.
In a corresponding roster move, the Yankees optioned right-hander Matt Daley to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Also prior to tonight’s game, the Yankees acquired left-hander David Huff from the San Francisco Giants in exchange for cash considerations. Huff, a familiar face who was with the Yanks last year, will be used as a multi-inning reliever. Left-hander Wade LeBlanc was designated for assignment.
NEW YORK — Already on the 15-day disabled list with right knee inflammation, Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia has requested to see Dr. James Andrews for a precautionary visit, general manager Brian Cashman said on Monday.
Cashman first revealed Sabathia’s intentions in an interview with ESPN’s Michael Kay on 98.7 FM in New York, noting that Sabathia “typically likes to follow up everything with Andrews.” Sabathia is also scheduled to see team physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad on Monday.
Sabathia was sent for an MRI following his start against the Brewers on Saturday, in which Sabathia allowed three home runs in 5 1/3 innings and finished with a no-decision in a 5-4 loss at Miller Park.
The MRI revealed a buildup of fluids in Sabathia’s knee, but no structural damage. That was a point of concern for the Yankees, considering that Sabathia considering Sabathia had surgery on the knee to repair a torn meniscus after the 2010 season.
Sabathia is scheduled to have the knee drained and has said that he hopes to rejoin the rotation in two weeks. Sabathia is 3-4 with a 5.28 ERA in eight starts this season.