Tanaka progressing during catch sessions

Tanaka progressing during catch sessions

NEW YORK -- Masahiro Tanaka continues to pass through the early stages of his rehab process smoothly, as he played catch for the fourth time in five days on Friday at Yankee Stadium.

The right-hander made 25 throws each at 60 and 90 feet, and he will throw at 90 feet again on Saturday before an off-day on Sunday.

Tanaka is hoping by rehabbing his partially torn ulnar collateral ligament that he will be able to avoid season-ending Tommy John surgery. He will need a couple of Minor League rehab starts eventually, but the Yankees are hoping Tanaka can return in September.

Tanaka will have to progress to throwing at 120 feet before moving on to the next step, which is throwing a bullpen session on flat ground.

Jamal Collier is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.