The Yankees had an off day on Thursday, but the organization did see one rehabbing player and one top prospect perform very well in the minor leagues. Masahiro Tanaka had an encouraging first rehab start with the Triple-A Scranton RailRiders and top prospect Luis Severino could not have pitched any better for the Double-A Trenton Thunder in his return from the disabled list.
Tanaka, who has been on the disabled list with a mild forearm strain and wrist tendinitis since April 29, had a 3.22 ERA and an outstanding 0.94 ERA in his four starts before going on the DL as a result of a bullpen session that he had. During his start on Thursday for the RailRiders against the Durham Bulls at PNC Park in Moosic, PA, he pitched three shutout innings while throwing 41 pitches. He was taken out of the game after three innings because his pitch limit for his first rehab start was 45 pitches.
He allowed only a single and a double, struck out two and did not issue a walk. During his three innings, 25 of his 41 pitches were strikes. His fastball was consistently between 91 and 92 mph, which is similar to how fast it was before he went on the DL. He will likely need at least one more rehab start, but it has not been revealed yet when or where his second one will be.
“I was looking to obviously pitch all my pitches with force and I think I was able to do that tonight,” Tanaka said afterward through an interpreter, the New York Daily News reports.
“I feel pretty confident about all the pitches,” Tanaka said.
Adam Warren, who has pitched well in his last two starts as he has allowed five earned runs combined in 13.1 innings, will probably make two more starts and then be replaced by Tanaka in the rotation. Warren will then be able to give the bullpen more depth while helping the overworked relievers, and Tanaka will be able to combine with Michael Pineda to form the best number one and two starter combo in the AL East.
In the Double-A Trenton Thunder’s game against the Bowie Baysox, Severino threw five no-hit innings in his first start since coming off of the DL. Severino, who is the team’s No. 1 prospect, struck out five and didn’t allow a walk. The only batter who got to first did so on catcher interference by Gary Sanchez with two outs in the fifth inning.
“It was a great outing for him, it was great to bounce back after those 10 days out,” Trenton pitching coach Jose Rosado said. Severino, who is only 21, now has a very good 3.27 ERA and 39 strikeouts in his seven starts with the Thunder this season. He could be able to help the Yankees as a September call-up if he continues pitching how he has been so far this season.
The organization’s No. 2 prospect, Aaron Judge, hit the game winning sacrifice fly in the 13th inning to drive in Cito Culver.