Tanaka feeling good, hopes to start Saturday

Skipper Girardi has not yet decided if right-hander will pitch again in '16

Tanaka feeling good, hopes to start Saturday

NEW YORK -- Masahiro Tanaka completed a bullpen session on Thursday without incident, and the right-hander said that he "absolutely" would be ready to make one final start this regular season, tentatively lined up for Saturday against the Orioles.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that the club has not decided if Tanaka will make that start, a nod to its potential elimination from postseason contention as early as Thursday.

"We'll make that decision day by day," Girardi said. "Right now, we don't have a starter for Saturday."

Tanaka, who had his scheduled start skipped this week due to a small flexor mass strain in his right forearm, said that he would understand if the Yankees decided not to have him pitch in a game that did not have postseason implications.

"I'll take that, and I do understand that," Tanaka said through an interpreter.

The right-hander has gone 14-4 with a 3.07 ERA in 31 starts. With 199 2/3 innings pitched, Tanaka needs to record just one out to reach the 200 mark for the first time as a big leaguer.

"I think I mentioned this at the start of the season or in Spring Training -- that was one of the goals that I wanted to get to," Tanaka said.

Girardi said that the Yankees are otherwise on rotation, meaning that Michael Pineda will start Friday's series opener against Baltimore.

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. 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.