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Tanaka Felt 'Rusty' Throwing Simulated Game

Hannah Foslien/Getty Images(DETROIT) -- New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka threw a 49 pitch simulated game Thursday against teammate Brendan Ryan.

Tanaka, who hasn't pitched in a MLB game since July 8 because of a injured right elbow, said he felt 'rusty'.

"I'm actually still not there yet," Tanaka said through an interpreter. "I think some of the balls I am throwing, I'm still not able to hit my spots. The rust is still there, so I still have some work to do to get back to game-ready."

Meanwhile, Yankees skipper Joe Girardi seemed more upbeat when it came to the 25-year-old's progress.

"I'm optimistic," Girardi said. "I haven't seen anything that leads me to believe he won't take the next step. At no point has he said he's felt anything in his arm. I think he has normal soreness after a day like today, but I am optimistic."

The Yankees (69-63) hope to have Tanaka back sometime this September.

Before the injury, Tanaka threw 129.1 innings this season, compiling a 12-4 record, 2.51 ERA, and a 1.01 WHIP, while striking out 135.

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