After a nasty injury scare earlier in summer camp, New York Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka let it rip in a 30-pitch bullpen session.
The New York Yankees are no stranger to injury woes and earlier this month, Masahiro Tanaka took a line drive off the head from Giancarlo Stanton. It didn’t look good, but Tanaka escaped the ordeal without any serious injuries.
In fact, he’s already turning in “crisp” bullpen sessions that have the Yankees feeling pretty good about where he’s at right now.
Masahiro Tanaka threw a 30-pitch bullpen at higher intensity than expected, Matt Blake said. He looked "crisp" and his velocity was 88-91 mph.
Next bullpen is Sunday, then he could face hitters next week.
— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) July 16, 2020
Tanaka’s four-seamer generally sits at around 92 mph with his sinker averaging just over 91 mph. Judging by his latest bullpen session, his velocity is in a good place. Facing hitters will be the next test for the Japanese-born hurler.
The Yankees are proceeding with caution when it comes to Tanaka, but even with this approach, he could be back in the rotation before we know it.
One avenue the Yankees could take would be to go with an opener instead of a fifth starter the first time through the rotation. That would potentially line Tanaka up to make his first start on Sunday, Aug. 2 at home against the Boston Red Sox.
In order for the Yankees to make a deep run this year, and potentially win the franchise’s 28th World Series, Tanaka has to be a factor. Gerrit Cole is the undisputed ace and James Paxton needs to be the reliable No. 2 behind him, but Tanaka might be the wild card for this rotation.
He tends to be up-and-down in the regular season before turning it up in the postseason. With only 60 regular-season games, Tanaka can’t afford to have those throw away starts.