Tanaka slated for 2nd rehab start next week

Yankees put pitch count at 65 after right-hander 'feels good' following outing

Tanaka slated for 2nd rehab start next week

NEW YORK -- Masahiro Tanaka reported no issues after a Minor League rehabilitation start this week, and the Yankees plan to send the right-hander back to the mound for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Wednesday at Pawtucket.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that Tanaka's pitch count will be bumped to 65 for the start in the 12:05 p.m. ET contest, Tanaka's second since being placed on the disabled list April 29 with a right forearm strain and right wrist tendinitis.

Tanaka started on Thursday for the RailRiders, throwing three scoreless innings against Durham. He permitted two hits with no walks and two strikeouts, tossing 25 of 41 pitches for strikes.

"He feels good about it. He says he feels good today, his arm feels great," Girardi said. "He wants to be able to throw more sliders, curveballs -- that sort of thing. When you throw 41 pitches, a lot of times you don't get a chance to work on it much."

It is possible that Tanaka could need just two Minor League rehab starts before returning to the big league rotation. Girardi said that the Yankees are following a normal rehab protocol with Tanaka, considering that he was built up and made four big league starts in April.

The Yanks are giving Tanaka an extra day of rest between Minor League starts, and that could continue in the near future; Girardi said they would "play it by ear."

Should Tanaka's pitch count see a similar jump after the scheduled 65-pitch start at Pawtucket, Girardi said that the Yanks may consider having him use those 80 or more pitches at the big league level rather than against a Minor League lineup.

"I think the one thing that you have to do is you have to evaluate each start he makes and how crisp the stuff is, and then decide if he's not a 100-pitch pitcher. Can your club handle that?" Girardi said. "Have we done that before? Yes. But I think we'll continue to evaluate where we think he's at and we'll make a decision."

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.