All eyes were on Masahiro Tanaka at Yankees camp today as he threw his first bullpen session of the spring. Fortunately, his elbow made it through unscathed.
Bryan Hoch of MLB.com reports that Tanaka threw about 21 pitches — all of them fastballs — during a session which last lasted around seven minutes. He declined to speak with reporters after the session, but is expected to address the media on Friday.
Tanaka was diagnosed with a partially-torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow last July, but he decided to rehab the injury rather than have Tommy John surgery. He made it back for two starts in September and had a normal offseason, so the Yankees are banking on him to be a big part of their starting rotation this season. Still, you can’t help but feel like that’s a risky proposition.
Tanaka, 26, posted a 2.77 ERA and 141/21 K/BB ratio in 136 1/3 innings across 20 starts as a rookie last season.