New York Yankees

Masahiro Tanaka expected to return to Yankees by the end of July

Masahiro Tanaka seems to have recovered from his injury quicker than anticipated.

Masahiro Tanaka’s health became the utmost concern surrounding the New York Yankees after a Giancarlo Stanton line drive unfortunately collided with Tanaka’s skull, giving the Japanese starter a concussion. If there is any silver lining to this freak accident, it’s the fact that Tanaka might not miss a large chunk of games as a result of his injury.

Per Bryan Hoch, Tanaka tossed 20 pitches from the mound for the first time since his injury. He is expected to increase his workload to 35-40 pitches soon, leaving a July 31 date with the Red Sox as his scheduled return to action.

Masahiro Tanaka will play a vital role in the Yankees’ rotation.

Tanaka, who went 11-9 with a 4.45 ERA during the 2019 season, was named an All-Star for the second time in his six-season career with the Yankees. Tanaka, a free agent after this season now that his seven-year contract with the Bronx Bombers is expiring, has a very limited number of starts in which he can demonstrate his value for prospective teams when the offseason comes around.

Gerrit Cole, by virtue of his pedigree and contract, is the unquestioned top dog in the rotation. Beyond that, the Yankees’ rotation is this weird miasma of vets and prospects jostling for position. Tanaka fixing his issue with giving up home runs and returning to the form he showed off upon his arrival in the United States would give the Yankees two shutdown starters that would serve them well come playoff time.

The Yankees will win most of their regular-season games on the strength of their deep lineup mashing home runs and Cole hitting triple digits, but only with depth in their starting rotation can the Yankees get to the World Series for the first time in 11 years.

Pitchers like Tanaka, James Paxton and a host of young prospects will have a huge role in bolstering that depth, and Tanaka recovering so quickly from his injury has to be a major relief for Aaron Boone and the Yankees.

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