Masahiro Tanaka made his latest rehab start today, throwing 5 scoreless innings against a variety of MiL guys at the team complex. But don't let the headline fool you. He wasn't the dominant, overwhelming version of himself we all remember from earlier in the season. Chad Jennings has all the details, but the short story is that Tanaka gave up 6 hits in his 5 innings and a couple of them (along with a few outs) were "hard hit." He struck out 4, walked none, and threw 65 pitches. After the outing, Tanaka said he felt good but wasn't sure if his stuff was ready to pitch in an MLB game. That's to be expected when we're talking about someone who hasn't pitched in as long as it's been for him. You don't want a guy out there on the mound who isn't comfortable and confident in his stuff. If it takes another sim start to get that feeling to click, so be it.
The question now becomes if it's even worth bringing Tanaka back at all. He's got time for 2 more starts this season regardless of level, and he doesn't sound ready to jump back to the show in his next 1. If all we're going to get is 1 more start out of him at the Major League level, wouldn't it make more sense to stick to the "rest and rehab" game plan and get started on some offseason strengthening/throwing programs?