Yankees place Tanaka on the 10-day IL; but he throws 20 pitches and is targeting July 31 to return

New York Yankees, Masahiro Tanaka
Mar 13, 2019; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka (19) throws a pitch during the first inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

After the heart of just about every New York Yankees‘ fan stopped for a few seconds on July 4th, when a Giancarlo Stanton screaming liner hit Masahiro Tanaka in the head, it is fair to say that the Japanese star has come a long way and is very close to return.

However, it is now official: Tanaka won’t be part of the Yankees’ active roster during the first week of the season, as the team put him on the 10-day injured list with a concussion, which was the diagnosis after the unfortunate incident.

The assignation on the IL is retroactive to July 19. The right-hander has progressed very nicely, and was healthy enough to throw 20 pitches from the Yankee Stadium mound on Tuesday. Mound work means that a pitcher is very close to returning to action.

An incredible comeback for the Yankees’ star

If you told us that Tanaka would be ready to rejoin the Yankees’ starting rotation roughly a month after being hit in the head by a 112-miles per hour comebacker, we wouldn’t believe it either. He has even said that he feels very lucky and is very aware that the whole incident could have been much, much worse.

During the session, the Yankees’ pitcher did not use a protective screen, as he, according to reports, wanted to prepare for what it will be like to actually be out there again in official games after his concussion scare.

The New York Yankees are expected to have Tanaka throw around 35-40 pitches in his next session on Sunday, as he increases his pitch count and stamina with a soon return in mind. Fortunately, manager Aaron Boone has several options at his disposal to replace Tanaka for a turn or two.

The Yankees and Tanaka have both said that they will take this process step by step, but the tentative return date is July 31, in a game against the Boston Red Sox at home.