Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Tanaka "looks good" during first throwing session

Masahiro Tanaka's first throwing session of spring training Tuesday might not have been a very large sample size, but according to one of Tanaka's teammates, it was still pretty impressive.

"That's unbelievable," fellow Yankees right-hander Ivan Nova told MLB.com. "I didn't know that he would be able to do it like he did it."

Tanaka arrived at the Yankees' minor-league complex Tuesday morning and worked out indoors for just under an hour, heading outside to play long toss with his interpreter around 11 a.m. EDT. 

There Tanaka hurled from distances ranging between 90 and 200 feet, and made 16 pitches on flat ground at 60 feet. Tanaka is said to have declined to talk to the media until Friday, when pitchers and catchers are set to report. 

Tanaka is recovering from a partially torn UCL which kept him out for much of last year, and the Yankees say they have no plans to hurry him back. 

"We won't rush him into it," Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild said. "I know what he's done [in Japan], I just want to see how much effort and force he's using, and then we'll go from there."

Tanaka was 12-4 with a 2.51 ERA in 129 1/3 IP through July 8 last season, but due to the aforementioned elbow injury, didn't take the field again until September 21. All in all, he went 13-5 with a 2.77 ERA and 141 strikeouts last year  -- recording a 1.06 WHIP. 

It's a safe bet the Yankees are rooting for a repeat of those numbers in 2015, and if they are indeed, it's fair to say this was a good start. 

"[Tanaka] looked good," Nova said, via Newsday. "[Looked like] the same guy."

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)