Finally the New York Yankees are making progress towards an October full of baseball. There’s hope to see one of their best pitchers make a healthy comeback in September and maybe he can help the bullpen get back to the outstanding pitching we’ve seen come from the Bronx Bombers once before.
Masahiro Tanaka has been out since July when he suffered a partially torn ligament in his elbow. He began his rehab earlier this month and even though he admitted to feeling better, both General Manager Brian Cashman and Manager Joe Girardi aren’t quite ready to throw him to the wolves.
I don’t think the Yankees have lived up to their reputation as one of the best team’s in baseball this season; however the return of Tanaka could easily fix this situation
“Tanaka threw 35 pitches in the Yankee Stadium bullpen, a mix of fastballs, curveballs and sliders,” said MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch. “He also snapped off five splitters, which is fairly significant considering the torque that Tanaka’s signature pitch requires.”
That’s not all that was being said, Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild had some positive things to say about the 25 year-old.
“For the time off he’s had, overall I thought it was good,” said Rothschild. “It wasn’t where it was before he got hurt, but I didn’t expect it to be. This is another step in the progression so we’ll just keep going with it.”
The Yankees are prepared for the challenges they face the rest of the season and those to come after their series with the Chicago White Sox. Dropping two of three to the Astros can only serve as a wakeup call to the organization’s hopes of reaching the playoffs putting even greater pressure on them to win their White Sox series. It seems a little too late in the season to be losing to one of the (statistically) worst teams in the entire league. Time is running thin and the Yankees need to make up ground in a hurry.
The hope of Tanaka’s return may be giving the team something to look forward to and push them to keep giving their all. He can almost be considered the team’s savior at this point. Before he was put on the disabled list, Tanaka threw his first shutout game with the Yankees, had 135 strikeouts under his belt with a stellar 2.51 ERA. Clearly Tanaka was carrying the weight of the Yankees on his back up until his injury. Without the reliability of his arm the Yankees have scuffled without him. How quickly can it turn around?
It’s relieving to see the Yankees in second place in the AL East, but the question everyone has been asking the entire season is, is it enough? Injuries are inevitable, but as I’ve been saying it’s how management decides to recover from them that matters and we’ll see soon if those decisions really helped the team this season.