The good news is that rookie pitching sensation Masahiro Tanaka, who has been sidelined with a partially torn ligament in his right elbow, doesn’t need surgery.
“Their decision was not to go with surgery, so that’s pretty much it,” Tanaka, speaking through an interpreter, said of his doctors. “I should be able to get it healed and rehabbed and be able to get on the mound. All I can do is believe them and go with the treatment and rehab program that the team will be having for us.”
The hope is that Tanaka, who said the pain had subsided some, but was still present, will be able to begin a throwing program in about three weeks, manager Joe Girardi said. But that can only happen if he feels no discomfort in the elbow.
“I think the plan is for him to pitch again (this season),” Girardi said. “I think it’s too early to tell exactly when we’ll get him back, but our hope is that we’ll get him back. I think the timetable they gave was sometime in September, so we’ll just have to wait and see.”
The news was not as good for pitcher C.C. Sabathia.
Sabathia is scheduled for season-ending surgery on his right knee, ending any hope of him returning to the Yankees’ ravaged rotation this year.
Sabathia will undergo surgery Wednesday, and general manager Brian Cashman said he thinks “in theory” the big left-hander will be ready for spring training in February. But there is no guarantee Sabathia will be able to pitch effectively next season.
“Given obviously the number of things that have gone on, we’ll have to be careful with him,” Cashman said. “Hopefully next year will be a different story.”
The team all but ruled out Sabathia returning in 2014 after he had a setback early this month while on a minor-league rehab assignment. He was hit hard July 2 in an outing for Double-A Trenton and woke up the next morning with swelling in the knee joint.
One positive is that Sabathia, who turns 34 Monday, will not have microfracture surgery Wednesday, which would require a longer recovery. Cashman said it will be an “arthroscopic debridement” — basically, a cleanup procedure.
The six-time All-Star and 2007 AL Cy Young Award winner has been out with a degenerative cartilage problem in his right knee since mid-May, when his earned-run average reached a career-high 5.28.
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