Masahiro Tanaka was diagnosed with a partially-torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow last July, but he decided to go the rehab route rather than have Tommy John surgery. He made it back for two starts in September, which was enough to give the Yankees at least some peace of mind going into the offseason. Still, the state of his elbow is naturally a hot topic as spring training approaches.
According to the Associated Press, Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild said today that the team has received positive reports on Tanaka this winter. In preparation for camp, he’s currently throwing and doing his normal conditioning program in Japan.
“So far he’s felt good,” Rothschild said Monday at the Yankees’ minor league complex. “He’s had a good winter.”
As of now, the Yankees expect Tanaka to be a part of their starting rotation this season. In his first season stateside, the 26-year-old put up a 2.77 ERA and 141/21 K/BB ratio in 136 1/3 innings across 20 starts, so having him back healthy would obviously be huge for their postseason hopes. However, he still feels like a huge wild card.