NEW YORK -- A day after getting hit on the right shin by a batted ball with a 111.3-mph exit velocity from Yandy Díaz, Masahiro Tanaka is feeling better. He was walking normally at Yankee Stadium ahead of the Yanks' rubber game vs. the Rays on Sunday morning, according to manager Aaron Boone. New York is hopeful he’ll be able to make his next start, but the team will know more once he throws his between-starts side session this week.
“I would say today was at least encouraging that he walked in feeling pretty well. Definitely some soreness in there, but walking is not an issue,” Boone said.
Dellin Betances, who began the season on the injured list with a right shoulder impingement, made 50 throws from 90 feet Sunday as he works his way back from the injured list. He’ll play catch Monday and then throw from a greater distance on Tuesday. Betances said on Sunday that he hasn’t felt anything as he’s taken these most recent steps toward his return.
Paxton making more progress
“It went pretty well. Still noticing it a little bit, and I’d like to come back and have it not be an issue at all. ... Just to get to the point where I’m not thinking about it at all and it’s not on my mind when I’m out there,” Paxton said.
Despite feeling it, Paxton felt there was progress since his last bullpen session.
“It was better than my last bullpen [session], so we’re making progress. And it’s really close,” Paxton said. “Part of me wants to go out there and let it rip and get back in a game, but I’m trying to be smart.”
Paxton said he wanted to avoid coming back too soon and end up back on the IL -- and potentially going back and forth from the IL to the active roster. Boone echoed that sentiment, saying that the Yankees want to ensure it isn’t something Paxton dealing with throughout the season.
Paxton has been wearing a brace on his knee when he throws. He’ll throw another bullpen session on Tuesday, and the team is hopeful that he’ll feel even better after that one.
“Hopefully one more side session on Tuesday will be something that catapults him back into the rotation at some point on the trip,” Boone said.
Paxton has been on the IL since May 4 with left knee inflammation. Before his injury, Paxton had a 3.11 ERA in seven starts this season, including two straight starts with 12 strikeouts on April 16 and 21.
Gardner one of Yanks’ Taylor Hooton Foundation Advisory Board reps
The Taylor Hooton Foundation is committed to educating young people about the dangers of performance enhancing drugs, and it is known to be a leading group in that realm. In 2014, an MLB advisory board was formed, and '19 is the fourth straight season that the board has included at least one representative from each of the 30 teams. The representation in '19 includes a record 42 players.
“There’s a platform that we have here, being able to reach young kids and try to be a positive role model,” said Gardner of his participation in the foundation’s initiatives.
The foundation has spoken to more than two million people in its education efforts. Those conversations are not limited to the United States -- they have also included Latin American outreach throughout the Caribbean. The foundation speaks not only with young athletes, but also parents and coaches, in an effort to educate about the dangers of performance-enhancing drugs and raise awareness.
“It’s been great to be a part of, and I think they’ve done some great work and I look forward to continuing to work with them, even after my playing career is over,” Gardner said. “It’s just something special to me, and I hope that other people get involved also.”