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Masahiro Tanaka to throw 25 pitches in bullpen session on Saturday

Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka yells after the

Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka yells after the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Seattle Mariners ended with a double play, Wednesday, June 11, 2014, in Seattle. Credit: AP / Ted S. Warren

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Masahiro Tanaka is ready to take the next significant step in his rehab.

The righthander, on the disabled list since July 9 with a slight tear in the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, is scheduled to throw a 25-pitch bullpen session Saturday, the first time he has thrown from a mound during a rehab process the Yankees hope will allow him to avoid Tommy John surgery.

"It's still early to tell, but we're getting through each step, so hopefully tomorrow goes well and we can move to the next step," Joe Girardi said.

Tanaka played catch in the outfield before Friday night's game and went through fielding drills. "No pain," he said through his translator.

The 25-year-old righthander said being able to get through a bullpen session will go a long way toward telling him whether pitching again this season is possible.

"If I can't throw the way I want to throw on the mound or in the bullpen, then there's no way I'll be able to throw that in a game," he said. "So yes, definitely, the bullpen will be important."

McCann set for return

Brian McCann, on the seven-day concussion disabled list since last Saturday, went through his first on-field work, which included batting practice and catching drills.

"I'm very happy with the way things went today," McCann said after BP. "We'll see how I feel in an hour, in two hours, later tonight."

McCann is eligible to come off the DL Saturday but said it isn't certain that he'll be activated then. He said he'll go through another round of field work and BP Saturday and could be declared ready to go for Saturday afternoon's game or for Sunday afternoon's.

Heavy metal

The Yankees announced that as part of MLB's initiative to standardize security procedures at all 30 ballparks by 2015, metal detectors will be added at various entry points at the Stadium starting Tuesday. Next season, all game-day entrances at the Stadium will have detectors, the club said.

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