Masahiro Tanaka throws his first bullpen session of the spring


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 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.

Jim Crane thought the heat over sign-stealing would blow over by spring training

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The Astros’ sign-stealing story broke in November, a steady drumbeat of coverage of it lasted through December and into January, when Rob Manfred’s report came out about it. The report was damning and, in its wake, Houston’s manager and general manger were both suspended and then fired.

After that a steady stream of media reports came out which not only made the whole affair seem even worse than Manfred’s report suggested, but which also suggested that, on some level, Major League Baseball had bungled it all and it was even worse than it had first seemed.

Rather than Manfred and the Astros putting this all behind them, the story grew. As it grew, both the Red Sox and Mets fired their managers and, in a few isolated media appearances, Astros’ players seemed ill-prepared for questions on it all. Once spring training began the Astros made even worse public appearances and, for the past week and change, each day has given us a new player or three angrily speaking out about how mad they are at the Astros and how poorly they’ve handled all of this.

Why have they handled it so poorly? As always, look to poor leadership:

Guess not.

In other news, Crane was — and I am not making this up — recently named the Houston Sports Executive of the Year. An award he has totally, totally earned, right?