ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — It was more progress for Masahiro Tanaka.
The righthander, on the disabled list since June 9 with strains in both hamstrings, threw 60 feet on flat ground for a second straight day Friday, upping his total tosses from 16 to 22. Watched by Aaron Boone, pitching coach Larry Rothschild and trainer Steve Donohue, Tanaka also played long toss in the outfield. “Another step along the way,” Boone said.
The manager said Tanaka will throw his first bullpen session Sunday and stay in Tampa when the Yankees head to Philadelphia after Sunday afternoon’s game at Tropicana Field. Tanaka, who is 7-2 with a 4.58 ERA in 13 starts, will throw another bullpen session Tuesday and, barring a setback, likely will pitch in a simulated game by week’s end.
“I think he’s progressing well,” Boone said. “Today was another step along that way.”
On June 9, general manager Brian Cashman gave a rough estimate of a month for Tanaka’s recovery.
Jonathan Loaisiga, the 23-year-old righthander brought up from Double-A Trenton to take Tanaka’s rotation spot, is 1-0 with a 3.12 ERA in two starts.
Brett Gardner was back in the lineup after a five-game absence because of right knee inflammation.
“He should be good to go,” Boone said before the game. “Looking forward to kind of our igniter and our heartbeat to a degree getting back in there.”
Gardner came into Friday hitting .324 with 17 extra-base hits in his previous 27 games. Gardner had two hits, both singles, in five at-bats.
Righthander Clark Schmidt, 22, the Yankees’ first-round pick in the 2017 draft who missed all of last year recovering from Tommy John surgery, made his professional debut Friday for the GCL Yankees. He allowed two runs and three hits in one inning, striking out two . . . The Yankees entered their three-game set with the Rays 16-2-2 in their last 20 series.