New York Yankees ace Masahiro Tanaka, who is trying to work his way back from a partially torn UCL in his right elbow, threw 49 pitches in a simulated game and reported no issues Thursday.
The Yankees are optimistic that Tanaka can return to help them in the pennant race in September. Instead of opting for Tommy John surgery, Tanaka decided to rehab his elbow.
According to USA Today, Tanaka used all of his pitches without any signs of discomfort in the simulated game. He has been sidelined since July 8.
"I don't see anything to believe he won't take the next step," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "I am optimistic.
"He was good He threw all of his pitches. I didn't see him favoring anything, and that's a good sign. It was a good step in the right direction."
Tanaka is expected to make at least two more starts in simulated games before rejoining the rotation.
"I'm still not there yet," Tanaka said. "I still have some work to get ready. I think I'm being cautious more than excited."
Tanaka threw against infielder Brendan Ryan, who batted from both sides of the plate.
"He could get outs now on stuff alone," Ryan said.
The 25-year-old Tanaka was off to a strong start in his first season with the Yankees after signing a seven-year, $155 million contract during the winter. He has a 12-4 record and 2.51 ERA with 135 strikeouts in 18 starts, but he was 1-3 with a 4.25 ERA in his last four outings.
PETIT SETS RECORD
Yusmeiro Petit is in the record books.
The San Francisco Giants pitcher retired his 46th consecutive batter in the third inning of Thursday's game against the Colorado Rockies.
Petit, entering the game having retired 38 hitters in a row, broke the record of 45 set by former Chicago White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle in July 2009.
The 29-year-old pitcher, who replaced struggling right-hander Tim Lincecum for the start, collected five strikeouts through the first eight batters before a double by opposing pitcher Jordan Lyles snapped his streak.
GIANTS LOSE CATCHER
It is very possible San Francisco Giants catcher Hector Sanchez is done for the season.
The 24-year-old backup backstop got the same diagnosis as teammate Brandon Belt when he visited a concussion specialist in Pittsburgh this week and was told to take three weeks off.
"We've told him there's a very slim chance he'd be back this year," Bochy told the San Francisco Chronicle. "He knows that. There's not much you can do about it. He just needs some rest right now ... It's a tough break for Hector. We have to look out for his well-being and do the right thing."
In 66 games this season, the native of Venezuela is batting .196 with three home runs and 28 RBIs
KONERKO WILL PLAY MORE
Paul Konerko is probably going to get a few more at-bats in September than he has gotten in the first five months of the season.
The reason is simple: Konerko, who has played 18 years, will retire after this season. He has become a bit of a legend in Chicago White Sox lore, playing a key role in the 2005 World Series championship and putting up impressive career numbers, so he'll likely get a few extra trips to the plate just so fans have more chances to see him.
"We'll see some lefties in there, but I'm sure he'll get a few more (at-bats) just for everybody's sake," manager Robin Ventura said. "It's important to us to have him play quite a bit in that last weekend that we're home (against the Kansas City Royals), if he can do it. If he can pull it off ... I don't know if we'll get all four out of him. We can get a few."
Konerko, 38, has gotten used to having some extended time off between his appearances, but he has no problem doing whatever is asked of him in the final month.
"I'm here to do whatever Robin wants," Konerko said. "I'm just here to serve really. I have no expectations one way or the other. That's kind of been me (this year). As soon as I signed to come back, it's just, 'Whatever you need me for.' You want me to play? I'll play. You want me to sit for a week, I'll sit for a week. I'll do whatever I can to help."
PHILLIES PREZ TAKES LEAVE
Philadelphia Phillies general partner and president David Montgomery is on medical leave while he recovers from jaw cancer surgery.
Pat Gillick, who was the Phillies general manager from 2005-08 and has been with the team in an advisory role, has assumed Montgomery's responsibilities.
"I have the highest regard for David Montgomery, as does everyone in our industry," Gillick said in a statement. "I am glad to be of assistance to the Phillies."
Montgomery, 68, had surgery in May to remove cancer from his right jaw bone.
Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo missed his second straight game Thursday because of tightness in his lower back ... The Philadelphia Phillies have completed their Aug. 7 trade with the Dodgers by acquiring right-hander Victor Arano as the second player in a deal that sent pitcher Roberto Hernandez to Los Angeles. The Phillies also acquired second baseman Jesmuel Valentin as the other part of the three-player trade ... Jayson Nix will join his forth team this season after the Kansas City Royals claimed the infielder from the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Royals also activated left-hander Scott Downs from the disabled list and optioned pitcher Liam Hendriks to double-A Northwest Arkansas ... Los Angeles Angels left-hander Wade LeBlanc accepted an assignment to triple-A Salt Lake after clearing waivers Thursday.