Yankees' Tanaka 'closer' to return after simulated game, could rejoin rotation this weekend

Sept 15, 3:26 PM

New York Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka took another significant step Monday in his recovery from a torn elbow ligament, and could rejoin the rotation as soon as this weekend.

"I do feel I'm closer to being game-ready," Tanaka told ESPN through his translator.

Tanaka, who last took the mound for the Yankees on July 8, threw five scoreless innings in a simulated game against minor leaguers Monday, collecting four strikeouts while allowing six hits.

"As far as my performance goes, I think it is gradually getting better," Tanaka said. "It is not really a regular-season game atmosphere. It is little bit hard for me to get up to there."

Tanaka said a decision about a possible return date could come Tuesday afternoon after he gauges how his arm responds and he consults with manager Joe Girardi and pitching coach Larry Rothschild.