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Yankees' Masahiro Tanaka Making Progress Towards Return this Season

Hannah Foslien/Getty Images(ST. PETERSBURG) -- The New York Yankees are still holding out hope that starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka can return this season.

Tanaka was on the mound for the first time in five weeks as he threw his first bullpen session since July 9. He was placed on the DL with a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament.

It was feared that Tanaka might need Tommy John Surgery at one point, but his recent progress shows he could at least avoid surgery.

"I felt very good," said Tanaka. "I'm not going to go 100 percent on the first day of bullpens," he said. "But I felt that I was able to throw the way I wanted to. Just the fact that I was able to get through it without any pain." 

If Tanaka is able to return to the mound, it would likely wouldn't be for another month. The Yankees must weigh if it is worth pushing him to return.

In his rookie season, Tanaka has gone 12-4 with a 2.51 ERA in 18 starts.

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