Aaron Boone provides positive update on Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton reacts to line drive incident

Masahiro Tanaka (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone provided a positive prognosis on starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka after a scary incident on Saturday in which he was hit in the head with a line drive off the bat of Giancarlo Stanton.

The veteran pitcher reported to Yankee Stadium to check-in on Monday less than 24 hours after being struck on the right side of the head with a 112-mph screamer during a simulated game on Independence Day.

Tanaka was sent to NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and released on Sunday evening. He was also placed in concussion protocol.

“We feel really good about where he is,” Boone said on Monday afternoon. “He came in about noon or 12:30 today and he was in really good spirits.”

“He got a good night’s sleep, no loss of appetite. I think all the signs are pointing to that he really dodged a bullet obviously. We’re encouraged where he is but we’ll take it day-by-day and hopefully it’s not something that will be too long.”

While the news involving Tanaka has been good after the incident, it’s stayed on the minds of some of his teammates.

James Paxton — who is expected to be the No. 2 arm in the Yankees’ rotation behind Gerrit Cole this year — threw with a protective screen in front of him on Monday.

“After yesterday, seeing that happen, I just wanted to play it safe, especially first time back out there,” Paxton said after recently recovering from back surgery. “What happened yesterday was so scary and luckily it doesn’t happen very often… If a ball comes back to you that hard, there’s nothing you can really do. You just kind of get lucky… There’s nothing you can do about that. It happens here and there and you pray it doesn’t happen.”

As for a timetable on just how much time Tanaka will miss, Boone and the Yankees are unsure as of now given the sometimes-unpredictable nature of concussion recovery.

“I hope so [he’ll be available for Opening Day],” Boone said. “I don’t want to speculate too much because any time you go in the concussion protocol and everything’s looking positive right now, we want to make sure we get through these days symptom-free and able to do everything from an athletic standpoint… I’m hopeful.”

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