Masahiro Tanaka has taken a very small step toward returning to the New York Yankees rotation, playing a pain-free game of catch.
Michael Pineda, another sidelined Yankees starter, appears much closer to a return from a right shoulder muscle injury. His return could be pushed up, too, because fill-in starter David Phelps has been placed on the 15-day disabled list Monday because of right elbow inflammation.
Tanaka made 25 throws from 60 feet. He said through a translator that he was relieved his elbow felt fine. The rookie sensation from Japan has been out for nearly a month with a small tear of the ulnar collateral ligament and is trying to avoid Tommy John surgery.
Pineda threw 58 pitches in 3 1/3 innings for Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes/Barre on Sunday. A day later, he was happy with how his shoulder felt.
Cain surgery set
San Francisco Giants pitcher Matt Cain will have season-ending surgery next week to remove bone chips in his right elbow.
The 29-year-old Cain hasn’t pitched since July 9. The three-time All-Star played catch at Citi Field on Friday to test out how he was feeling.
Cain was 2-7 with a 4.18 ERA in 15 starts.
Cubs call up Baez
Touted prospect Javier Baez will join the Chicago Cubs today in Colorado and could make his major league debut in the three-game series against the Rockies.
The 21-year-old Baez, Chicago’s first pick in the 2011 draft, got off to a slow start this year in the minors, but has been playing well of late. The middle infielder, who is known for his tremendous bat speed, hit .300 with 12 homers and 34 RBIs in his last 32 games for Triple-A Iowa.
Clearing the bases
The Pirates are expected to place center fielder Andrew McCutchen on the 15-day disabled list with an oblique injury. …The Mets cut slumping 40-year-old Bobby Abreu and called up outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis from the minors. … Outfielder Nate McLouth has been placed on the 15-day D.L. by the Nationals with a shoulder injury. … Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira has been scratched from the lineup after feeling lightheaded before their game against the Tigers. … The White Sox promoted right-handed reliever Maikel Cleto from Triple-A Charlotte.