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'Encouraging signs' as Tanaka throws off mound

Starter feels no pain in hamstrings; Yankees giving Sabathia extra day of rest
Special to MLB.com

ST. PETERSBURG -- Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka threw a 26-pitch bullpen session before New York's series finale against Tampa Bay on Sunday morning. It was his first time throwing off a mound since going on the disabled list on June 9 with mild strains in both of his hamstrings.

"I was kind of being a little bit cautious about it on the mound, but it turned out that I didn't feel anything [in my hamstrings], so everything is working out fine," Tanaka said through a translator.

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ST. PETERSBURG -- Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka threw a 26-pitch bullpen session before New York's series finale against Tampa Bay on Sunday morning. It was his first time throwing off a mound since going on the disabled list on June 9 with mild strains in both of his hamstrings.

"I was kind of being a little bit cautious about it on the mound, but it turned out that I didn't feel anything [in my hamstrings], so everything is working out fine," Tanaka said through a translator.

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Tanaka, who did some light running in the outfield at Tropicana Field after the session, was encouraged by his ability to throw his entire repertoire of pitches without limitation.

"Just being able to throw without feeling anything in the hamstring, No. 1," Tanaka said. "No. 2 is that the arm strength is still there and just being able to throw with some force on it."

Yankees manager Aaron Boone said that Tanaka will throw another bullpen session on Tuesday at the team's Minor League complex in Tampa, and that he will be reassessed after that.

"Encouraging signs," Boone said. "Looks like he's doing well."

Rotation reshuffle

New York announced that the club would reshuffle its rotation for the upcoming series against the Phillies to give veteran lefty CC Sabathia an extra day off.

"With the stretch we've been in, we just really value getting the extra day," Boone said. "For CC to get that extra day -- actually an extra two days with an off-day -- and being able to start the first game in Boston, we just felt it was really valuable if we can get through with our 'pen the next few days and not have to alter anything."

Video: SEA@NYY: Loaisiga K's Gordon with a pitch in the dirt

Jonathan Loaisiga (1-0, 3.12 ERA) and Luis Severino (11-2, 2.24 ERA) will start the first two games vs. Philadelphia as scheduled. Righty Luis Cessa, who was recalled from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Thursday, will get a spot start for Wednesday's finale.

"We have a lot of confidence in Cessa," Boone said. "That's kind of the role going into the season that we envisioned him in, kind of being that fifth, sixth starter for us."

J. Scott Butherus is a contributor to MLB.com based in St. Petersburg.

New York Yankees, Masahiro Tanaka