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Yankees RHP Masahiro Tanaka to pitch in a minor league simulated game; next stop the majors

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NEW YORK — Injured Yankees ace Masahiro Tanaka is going to face minor leaguers in a simulated game Monday in what may be the final step of his rehabilitation from a partially torn elbow ligament.

New York manager Joe Girardi said Wednesday that Tanaka felt good a day after a simulated game at Yankee Stadium. If all goes smoothly in Tampa, Florida, the Japanese All-Star could next pitch in the major leagues for the first time since July 8. That start could come in the Bronx against Toronto on Sept. 20 or 21.

The Yankees want Tanaka to test his arm against big league hitters to assess their decision to have the 25-year-old right-hander forgo ligament replacement surgery and instead try rest and therapy. Tommy John surgery is the common treatment for the injury and recovery time is usually 12-18 months.

Tanaka is 12-4 with a 2.51 ERA in his first major league season.

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