Yanks righty to see team physician Tuesday for forearm strain; Castro cleared to pinch-hit
By Alykhan Ravjiani
TORONTO -- Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka is expected to see team physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad on Tuesday when the club returns home from an 11-game road trip, manager Joe Girardi said before Monday's 7-5 victory over the Blue Jays.
Tanaka was initially slated to start Monday's series finale against the Blue Jays, but an MRI exam last week revealed a small flexor mass strain in his right forearm and the ace was skipped in favor of Luis Severino.
If Dr. Ahmad determines Tanaka is good to resume baseball activities, Girardi said Tanaka could throw a bullpen session Wednesday or Thursday before potentially starting Saturday against the Orioles.
"I think that's my hope, that he's able to make his next start and that it's not an issue," Girardi said. "But that will be up to what the doctor thinks."
Tanaka complained of tightness in his forearm following Wednesday's start against the Rays, in which allowed a career-high four home runs. The 27-year-old has not picked up a ball since, but has been receiving regular treatment.
With the Yankees' American League Wild Card elimination number down to two entering Monday's game, Girardi said the staff has not discussed shutting Tanaka down in the event the team gets eliminated over the next several days.
"We haven't talked about that," Girardi said. "We'll let him see the doctor [Tuesday] and let him decide what the best course of action is."
Tanaka is 14-4 with a 3.07 ERA in 31 starts over 199 2/3 innings.
Yankees second baseman Starlin Castro went through a variety of running drills on the field before Monday's game and was available as a pinch-hitter if needed, Girardi said. Castro pinch-hit in the eighth, flying out to right field.
Castro had been out since sustaining a Grade 1 strain of his right hamstring Sept. 17 against the Red Sox at Fenway Park, and the Yankees were hopeful he could rejoin the starting lineup later this week. The 26-year-old has hit .273 with a career-high 21 home runs and 69 RBIs in 147 games during his first season in New York.
"I think he's done a pretty good job adapting to playing second base every day on a full-time basis," Girardi said. "I still think there's some learning to do on the job, but he's made a lot of adjustments, I think he's swung the bat really well for us in big situations, so he's had a pretty good year."
The Yankees outrighted right-hander J.R. Graham to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre before Monday's game. Graham started the season with the Twins' organization before coming to New York in a trade May 14. The move opens up a spot on the 40-man roster.
The 26-year-old went 4-3 with a 3.27 ERA in the Minors this season. Graham made one Major League relief appearance with the Twins and allowed two runs over 1 2/3 innings.
Alykhan Ravjiani is a reporter for MLB.com based in Toronto. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.