ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA – New York Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, rehabbing a torn elbow ligament, threw 25 fastballs off a bullpen mound on Saturday and said he felt no pain.
“I think we’re heading in the right direction, so I feel good about that,” Tanaka said after the bullpen session at Tropicana Field, home of the Tampa Bay Rays.
The 25-year-old right-hander was diagnosed with a partially torn right ulnar collateral ligament in July.
Later that month he received a platelet-rich plasma injection as he and the team sought to boost healing and help avoid “Tommy John” tendon replacement surgery, which would end his season and likely see him miss all of 2015 as well.
He threw for the first time on Aug. 5, but hadn’t thrown full force off a mound until Saturday.
He said he hoped to pitch again this season, regardless of where the Yankees are in the playoff chase.
“I think it’s important for the team to fight until the end of the season, so for me, if it would be possible, I would like to contribute until the end of the season,” Tanaka said.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi likes that idea, too, saying the team can only truly gauge Tanaka’s recovery once he has pitched in games.
Ortiz pounds pair in win
Boston — David Ortiz hit a pair of two-run homers, including his 400th in a Red Sox uniform, and drove in a career high-equaling six runs to power Boston past the Houston Astros 10-7.
Big Papi joined Hall of Famers Ted Williams and Carl Yastrzemski as the only players to hit 400 homers while playing with the Red Sox.
Williams hit 521 homers and Yaz had 452. Both spent their entire careers with the Red Sox.
Tigers 4, Mariners 2
In Detroit, David Price pitched eight innings of one-run ball as the Tigers ended Seattle’s five-game winning streak with a victory over Felix Hernandez.
Price (12-8) allowed three hits, struck out seven and walked three in his first game at Comerica Park since he was acquired in a trade with Tampa Bay last month.
Hernandez was hit on the leg by Ian Kinsler’s hard ground ball for the final out of the fourth. He pitched the next inning before departing after 92 pitches, allowing two runs and seven hits.
Hernandez (13-4) lost his record streak of 16 straight starts of at least seven innings and no more than two runs.
Blue Jays 6, White Sox 3
In Chicago, Melky Cabrera’s two-run double in the seventh inning lifted the Blue Jays to a victory over the White Sox.
Toronto, which snapped a four-game losing streak, scored three runs in the seventh to retake the lead after Chicago tied it with three runs in the sixth.
Munenori Kawasaki entered the game as a pinch hitter in the seventh for the Blue Jays and stayed in at second base. He was 2-for-2 with a run scored.
Twins 4, Royals 1
In Minneapolis, Phil Hughes threw seven sharp innings and Kurt Suzuki hit his third homer of the season as the Twins beat first-place Kansas City.
Hughes (13-8) allowed one run, seven hits and struck out six to outlast hard-throwing rookie Yordano Ventura (9-9).
Norichika Aoki went 2-for-4 with a double and a stolen base for the Royals in the loss.
Yankees 3, Rays 2
In St. Petersburg, Florida, Derek Jeter hit a tiebreaking single in the ninth inning as New York ended a five-game skid with a win over the Rays.
Brett Gardner opened the ninth with an infield single off Jake McGee (3-1) and advanced to second on a throwing error by second baseman Logan Forsythe. After failing to lay down a sacrifice bunt, Jeter put the Yankees ahead with a single to right-center on a 2-2 pitch.
Indians 6, Orioles 0
In Cleveland, Carlos Carrasco shut out AL East-leading Baltimore on three hits over seven innings, lifting the Indians over the Orioles.
Carlos Santana hit a three-run homer in the first off Ubaldo Jimenez (4-9) and Michael Brantley added a two-run shot in the fifth as hot-and-cold Cleveland won for the fifth time in six games.
Angels 5, Rangers 4
In Arlington, Texas, Albert Pujols and Howie Kendrick homered to power the Angels to the victory.
Los Angeles (72-49) is alone in first place in the AL West for the first time since 2011.