NEW YORK -- The next stop on Masahiro Tanaka's rehab road will be in the Motor City. The right-hander is scheduled to throw a simulated game on Thursday at Detroit's Comerica Park as he continues to work toward a September return to the big leagues.
Manager Joe Girardi said that Tanaka reported no issues after throwing 35 pitches in a simulated game off the mound at Yankee Stadium on Saturday.
"I have not had any emergency meetings in my office. That's a great sign," Girardi said. "He feels good and he'll continue to move ahead. We'll do a simulated game on Thursday in Detroit and then after that, we'll see."
Tanaka has been attempting to avoid surgery after sustaining a partial tear of his right ulnar collateral ligament in a July 8 start against the Indians in Cleveland. Girardi said that he expects Tanaka will throw more than the 35 pitches he tossed on Saturday, but he could not provide an exact number.
If Tanaka is able to join the team in September, the Yankees could utilize a six-man rotation to accommodate him, a possibility that pitching coach Larry Rothschild first acknowledged to the New York Post last week. Rothschild said that such a move would be made not only with Tanaka in mind, but for the health of other pitchers as well.
"I don't know what we'll do," Girardi said. "Hopefully, I have that bridge to cross and then we'll look at it. We'll see how our starters are doing and what we think is important. Sometimes out of need you can't; if someone else gets nicked up, that sort of thing."