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Masahiro Tanaka Fine After Bullpen Session

Tanaka is in the midst of returning from forearm and wrist injuries.

Elsa/Getty Images

Elsa/Getty Images


Masahiro Tanaka was sent by the New York Yankees to Nationals Park in Washington D.C. to throw a bullpen session on Monday afternoon.

Tanaka is in the midst of returning from forearm and wrist injuries. After Tanaka’s 29-pitch bullpen on Monday, the dominant right-hander’s next step is a minor league rehab start. He will likely need at least two of those and will not be back in pinstripes until late this month, at best.

The American League East is so bad that you could hesitate before saying the Yankees need Tanaka to win it, but having a healthy Tanaka certainly wouldn’t hurt. The Tampa Bay Rays currently sit in second place, a game back of the Yanks, but with their injuries and lack of depth it is doubted that they will win the marathon. The Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays, and Baltimore Orioles would seem to be more of a challenge but at this point none of them can even play over .500.

So, the Bronx Bombers are sitting atop a depleted AL East with a 22-17 record, which as of Monday would not lead any other division. But, if you really want to feel good about the Yankees chances to win the division, they need a healthy Tanaka. The offensive troubles have not fully developed just yet. Throughout the first five games of the Yankees road trip they are averaging 1.2 runs in the five losses that have occurred.

The Yankee offense for the most part has been healthy, not showing any major injuries as of yet. In the minds of many, at some point an offensive player such as Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez, Jacoby Ellsbury, or Carlos Beltran will go down. It is then when the Yankees will need Tanaka to go seven innings giving up two runs or less.

So, Tanaka was at Nationals Park trying to find his form. He is 2-1 with a 3.22 earned run average early on. The Yankees show no way of replacing him, and no one else in the division may be able to match this team if he is right.

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