Tanaka takes another positive step

Tanaka takes another positive step

NEW YORK -- Masahiro Tanaka threw 31 pitches in the Yankee Stadium bullpen on Sunday afternoon, and if everything goes well in his second Minor League rehab start this week, he could return to big league duty.

Tanaka's bullpen session served as preparation for his scheduled start on Wednesday for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre at Pawtucket, during which the right-hander is scheduled to throw approximately 65 pitches. Tanaka said that if the Yanks want to use him in the big leagues after that, he'll be fine.

"I feel pretty good about where I am now; I feel pretty strong," Tanaka said through an interpreter. "If that were the case, I should be ready to go. Basically, I'm going to go where the team wants me to go."

Tanaka was placed on the disabled list on April 29 with a strained right forearm and tendinitis in his right wrist. He 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.

"The important thing is for me to come back strong, be strong enough to be able to go up on the mound and contribute to the team," he said. "The No. 1 thing is to really get strong and try to get back there."

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.