After what was reported as a “great” bullpen session on Wednesday, New York Yankees star pitcher Masahiro Tanaka was shut down on Thursday with what the team says is “general arm soreness.” Tanaka, who had hoped to throw a simulated game on Tuesday, will instead head back to New York to work on strengthening exercises.
The Yankees’ ace has been out since it was discovered he had damage to the UCL in his elbow in July. Instead of opting for Tommy John surgery which would have taken him out of action until late in the 2015 season, Tanaka has attempted to rehab the injury in an effort to join his teammates for a late season playoff push.
In speaking with the media prior to leaving Comerica Park, Tanaka revealed that the soreness was not specific to his injured elbow, but rather had spread throughout his entire pitching arm. The 25-year-old indicated he is not overly worried about the soreness, indicating his belief that it may just be a result of lacking arm strength after a long layoff, and does not plan on visiting with a doctor in New York.
"I want to be a little bit cautious," Tanaka said. "I haven't been throwing for a number of weeks."
With the American League East virtually out of reach as the season’s final month commences, the Yankees may be best off shutting down Tanaka for the remainder of the season. With six years remaining on the mega-contract the Japanese star signed in the off-season, it may not be worth risking his long-term help for an outside chance at a one-game play-in for the American League Wild Card.