BOSTON -- There will be a significant checkpoint in Masahiro Tanaka's recovery on Monday, when the right-hander is scheduled to report to Yankee Stadium and could play catch for the first time since his right elbow injury.
Monday marks the three-week point from the date that Tanaka received a platelet-rich plasma injection, which the team hoped would promote healing of his partially torn ulnar collateral ligament.
"We'll see tomorrow what everyone wants to do with him, but as we said, three weeks is the mark," manager Joe Girardi said. "He feels good, so we'll see what we do."
Tanaka saw team physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad on Friday in New York and no issues were reported.
The injury interrupted a terrific debut season for Tanaka, who was 12-4 with a 2.51 ERA in his first 18 big league starts and named as an American League All-Star. The 25-year-old was hurt in a July 8 start against the Indians in Cleveland, and he is hoping to avoid season-ending Tommy John surgery.
When the injury was diagnosed last month, general manager Brian Cashman said that the best-case scenario of the prescribed rehab program would get Tanaka back on a Major League mound in six weeks.
It seems more likely, though, that Tanaka would return in September if he does make it back to the Majors in 2014. There is a long road ahead; essentially, what would be a second Spring Training for Tanaka.
"It's not starting all over, because he's been built up [stamina-wise]," Girardi said. "But it'll be probably 60 feet, and then 60 and 90, and 90 and 120, then flat ground and bullpen and probably a rehab game."