According to the Associated Press — via Chad Jennings of The Journal News — Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka threw off a bullpen mound Tuesday for the first time since undergoing a cleanup procedure on his right elbow last October.
The throwing session took place in New York, and Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild later told the media in Tampa that all of the reports he heard were good.
Tanaka might be behind some of the Yankees’ other pitchers when spring training officially begins, but he should be ready for the start of the 2016 regular season.
The 27-year-old native of Japan posted a 3.51 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, and 139/27 K/BB ratio across 154 innings last season for New York. He owns a 3.16 ERA (123 ERA+) in 290 1/3 innings since becoming a major leaguer in 2014.
Tanaka is still pitching with a partially-torn ligament in his right elbow that could eventually require Tommy John reconstructive surgery. His surgery last October was of the arthroscopic variety and simply removed bone spurs.
MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez passes along word from the Dominican Republic that right-hander Freddy Garcia will hang up his cleats for good after Sunday’s Caribbean Series championship game.
Garcia will start that game for the Tigres de Aragua out of Venezuela. He’s taking on Mexico’s Venados de Mazatlan.
“Venezuelan fans are expecting something good from Freddy and so is everybody,” said Tigres de Aragua manager Eddie Perez, who also serves as the bullpen coach for the Atlanta Braves. “Knowing that it’s his last game is going to make it very special. We all hope he pitches a really good game so he can retire in a good way and bring the title for Venezuela. Everybody who is rooting for Venezuela expects him to do well.”
Garcia’s last major league game was in the 2013 postseason. The 39-year-0ld will finish with a 4.15 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, and 6.4 K/9 in 2,264 career regular-season innings. He had a 3.26 ERA in 11 playoff starts, winning a World Series title with the White Sox in 2005.
MLB.com put together this very cool video montage reviewing the 2015 season and setting us up for what should be a wild 2016. Young stars, veterans chasing milestones, unpredictable divisional races.
It’s so close to spring training. Let’s do this.
Drew Smyly requested $3.75 million and was offered $3.2 million from the Rays’ front office when arbitration figures were exchanged last month. That is a relatively small gap, but sometimes those small gaps are the hardest to close because neither side sees reason to budge.
Which is how we got to our first salary arbitration hearing of 2016 …
The two sides presented their cases in Phoenix, Arizona to arbitrators Elizabeth Neumeier, Andrew Strongin, and Phillip LaPorte. Teams like to avoid having to make those presentations because they can get personal and hurt feelings. That’s the nature of this system — an organization must argue why it doesn’t think one of its players deserves as much money as that player desires.
Smyly missed a large chunk of the 2015 season with a labrum tear in his left shoulder, but he posted a cool 3.11 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, and 77 strikeouts in 66 2/3 innings (12 starts) when healthy. The 26-year-old left-hander boasts a 2.52 ERA in 114 1/3 innings since being traded from Detroit to Tampa Bay in mid-2014.
Smyly was eligible for arbitration for the second time as a Super Two.
He is under contractual control with the Rays through 2018.
Louis Coleman registered an outstanding 2.69 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, and 10.3 K/9 over his first 140 1/3 major league innings from 2011-2013, but it fell apart for him in 2014 and he made just four appearances at the big league level in 2015. Now, for the first time in his professional career, the right-hander is going to have to find a new team.
Coleman was designated for assignment by the Royals last Friday to clear a 40-man roster spot for new starting pitcher Ian Kennedy and on Wednesday the 29-year-old reliever officially got handed his release.
The past success should net Coleman multiple offers on the open market, but it’s a safe bet that they will all be of the non-guaranteed minor league contract variety. He can then try to win a bullpen job somewhere during spring training.
Coleman had a shiny 1.69 ERA in 64 innings last year at Triple-A Omaha.