Yankees pitcher Tanaka tests elbow against batters, feels good

Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka has been sidelined by a partial ligament tear. 

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NEW YORK — Masahiro Tanaka says his injured elbow felt fine after facing batters for the first time in more than a month.

New York Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild and manager Joe Girardi were pleased with Japanese All-Star’s 35-pitch effort Saturday morning. Tanaka has been trying to work his way back from a partial ligament tear in his right elbow rather than face season-ending surgery.

In front of several dozen reporters and photographers, he faced teammates Brendan Ryan and Zelous Wheeler in a two-inning simulated game. Rothschild says Tanaka threw all of his pitches, including his devastating splitter.

Tanaka says he didn’t have his best command but had no trouble with the elbow.

The Yankees will wait to see how Tanaka feels Sunday before deciding the next step.