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Tanaka 'happy' after first bullpen session

Yankees star rehabbing injured forearm, wrist; Nova also throws
MLB.com @BryanHoch

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Yankees deemed Masahiro Tanaka's return to the mound to be a success, as the right-hander threw 30 pitches and used his full repertoire in the Tropicana Field bullpen prior to Tuesday's game against the Rays.

The pitches were Tanaka's first off a hill since he was placed on the disabled list April 29 with a strained right forearm and tendinitis in his right wrist.

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Yankees deemed Masahiro Tanaka's return to the mound to be a success, as the right-hander threw 30 pitches and used his full repertoire in the Tropicana Field bullpen prior to Tuesday's game against the Rays.

The pitches were Tanaka's first off a hill since he was placed on the disabled list April 29 with a strained right forearm and tendinitis in his right wrist.

"It felt good, coming out really good from my hand," Tanaka said through an interpreter. "Happy about it."

"He looked fine. It was a good progression," pitching coach Larry Rothschild said. "He threw all his pitches, had no problems. We'll see how he is tomorrow."

Tanaka will have at least one more side session before being cleared for rehab starts, and manager Joe Girardi said that they will wait to see how he feels Wednesday. General manager Brian Cashman has said that Tanaka could be making big league starts in early June, but Tanaka is unsure of his time frame.

"I've got to see how I do in my first rehab start," Tanaka said. "I'll probably get a feel for where I'm at once I throw that first start. Obviously I have to see how the coaches, manager, see how I do. It kind of all depends on that."

Also on Tuesday, right-hander Ivan Nova threw 33 pitches, broken into three innings, during an extended spring outing with Girardi and Rothschild in attendance. Nova is recovering from Tommy John surgery conducted last April and is expected back this summer.

"He got through the three innings fine," Rothschild said. "The velocity was good. The location was good, which is unusual for a guy coming back at this point. He spun the ball well; some good curveballs. It's just building up the stamina now and making sure you get through all the paces. We're not going to rush it."

Left-hander Chris Capuano earned a victory on Tuesday for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre at Norfolk, hurling six innings of two-run, seven-hit ball. Capuano walked none and struck out three, throwing 55 of 76 pitches for strikes, and he could be close to being big league ready.

"He should be, depending on functionality," Rothschild said. "He's got to be ready to get people out here and have command of the pitches that you need to get by here."

Girardi said it is still too early to think about how Capuano, Nova and Tanaka will rejoin the rotation.

"I don't think you really worry too much about it until you have to make a decision about what you're going to do because other things can creep up," Girardi said. "As I've said before, sometimes you can waste a lot of energy doing that."

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

New York Yankees, Ivan Nova, Masahiro Tanaka