Masahiro Tanaka took the first step toward rejoining the Yankees rotation Thursday by throwing for the first time since going on the disabled list with a strained right forearm on April 28.

Tanaka made 50 throws at 60 feet at Yankee Stadium before the Yankees hosted the Orioles.

"Today was obviously a good, but expected, day," general manager Brian Cashman said. "We feel that this is a minor issue that he was dealing with and it's just a timing issue. So give him the rest, [then] back to a flat-ground throwing program. It'll lead to getting him on the mound here. We have mapped out in our mind when a rehab start will take place and stuff. So I think it'll all fall in line with the time frame we provided at the outset."

That time frame would have Tanaka back on the mound for the Yankees before the end of the month -- unless he needs more than one minor-league rehab outing, which Cashman said is possible.

Tanaka, who is already pitching with a slight tear in his ulnar collateral ligament, declined to address reporters. He is expected to throw again Friday.

Tanaka was 2-1 with a 3.22 ERA in four starts before complaining about wrist soreness after his last outing. An MRI revealed a previously undetected and asymptomatic forearm strain.

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"To be honest, I have no concern about Tanaka," Cashman said. "It's really just having the schedule, the time frame fly off, i.e. going through everything he has to do to get back to the big-league mound for us. It's a timing thing."

Trainer's room

Brett Gardner (stiff neck) rejoined the lineup and went 2-for-4 with two runs . . . Ivan Nova (Tommy John surgery) threw two innings in a rookie league game.