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Yankees need to see Masahiro Tanaka pitch so decision can be made

New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka delivers

New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka delivers in the first inning of a baseball game at Yankee Stadium in New York, Tuesday, June 17, 2014. Toronto Blue Jays Jose Reyes hit Tanaka's first pitch over the right field wall for leadoff, solo home run. Credit: AP / Kathy Willens

Masahiro Tanaka is scheduled to throw a bullpen session Saturday as he continues his attempt to return to the rotation. But if he doesn't heal in time to pitch again this season, the Yankees need to find out whether Tommy John surgery will be necessary. "He will pitch somewhere,'' Joe Girardi said. "He has to throw. You can't wait until next spring.''

Tanaka, who has been rehabbing the slight tear in his right ulnar collateral ligament in hopes of avoiding surgery, was sent back to New York from Toronto Saturday morning because of "general arm soreness'' that followed a three-inning simulated game Aug. 28 in Detroit. Yankees doctors concluded that Tanaka's arm was fatigued and that the soreness was not related to the elbow.

Prado tests hamstring

Martin Prado's strained left hamstring allowed him to do some light running, but that was about it. He did not feel any soreness and hopes he can play within the next couple of days. "It felt good,'' he said. "A game is a different situation, but just running 50 percent and not feeling anything is great news for me.''

He went through treatment Wednesday and progressed to jogging Thursday but said he's "not even close'' to game speed.

Said Prado: "I don't want to be a hero and go out there and get hurt and not play until the end of the season. I'd rather just take a couple days and make sure my leg is OK to play the 20 or 25 games we have left.'' Phelps getting better

David Phelps, on the disabled list since Aug. 4 with right elbow inflammation, still has hopes of returning this season. The righthander threw in the outfield, alongside Tanaka, and is slated for a 35-pitch bullpen session Friday followed by a simulated game Sunday.

Said Phelps: "They said after that [the simulated game] we'll reassess and go from there.''

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