Masahiro Tanaka said his strained right hamstring is "better" and that it did not give him any trouble during a 31-pitch bullpen session Friday.
But the hamstring hasn't completely healed, and there is at least some question whether he will be able to rejoin the rotation "early next week," which is what the Yankees are hoping for, according to Joe Girardi.
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"It's not completely gone," Tanaka said through his translator. "I think it's been seven days or so. I wish it was gone, but it's a strain, so it's still there. I think the good sign is that I was able to throw a pretty good bullpen today, so it's definitely moving toward the right direction."
Still, one observer noted that Tanaka seemed to walk with a slight limp after running in the outfield following the bullpen session and appeared to place his hand on the affected area periodically as he walked.
Tanaka, the Yankees' preferred starter should they play in the wild-card game Oct. 6, said, "Even with this, I think I can throw at 100 percent."
But he equivocated when told of Girardi's "early next week" timeline. "It's definitely getting better and better each day but . . . we want to see how it feels tomorrow after the bullpen session was thrown today," he said. "So I guess we'll wait and see how I feel."
No worries over Betances
Dellin Betances has struggled with his command recently, walking 10 in eight innings in his last seven games. He has struck out 15 and allowed one run in that span. "I just think he's off a little bit," Girardi said. "I don't make too much of it. I think mechanically he's been a little bit off. I'm really not too worried about it."