Tanaka makes 50 pain-free throws from 60 feet

Tanaka makes 50 pain-free throws from 60 feet

NEW YORK -- For the first time since being shut down nine days ago and placed on the disabled list, Masahiro Tanaka made 50 throws at 60 feet without feeling any pain prior to Thursday's game against the Orioles at Yankee Stadium.

It was a small step, but still the first hurdle to be cleared as Tanaka begins the road back from the DL, where he is recovering from a Grade 1 strain of his right forearm and tendinitis in his right wrist. General manager Brian Cashman called this injury a "minor issue" and maintained his initial timetable that Tanaka could return to the team in about a month.

"I have no concern on Tanaka," Cashman said. "We feel this is a minor issue that he was dealing with and it's just a timing issue. So give him some rest, and getting back to a flat-ground throwing program will obviously lead to getting him on the mound here."

The Yankees have mapped out a rehab progression for Tanaka, who still has a partially torn right ulnar collateral ligament, but they do not believe they will need to treat him any more carefully in his rehab from this injury than they would any other pitcher.

Tanaka is expected to throw again Friday before taking the next day off and is eventually expected to make at least one Minor League rehab start, although Cashman was not certain how many.

"Some of it is determined by health, some of it is determined by how he looks and if he looks rusty," Cashman said.

Tanaka was 2-1 with a 3.22 ERA in his four starts this season before he arrived to Yankee Stadium on April 28 and reported some discomfort in his right wrist. He received an MRI that night that revealed the damage in his arm, and the team shut him down until Thursday.

"I'm just going to go day by day," manager Joe Girardi said. "What happens tomorrow depends on what happens today. Today was good, so we'll take the next step tomorrow and see exactly what he does."

Jamal Collier is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.