Masahiro believes poor mechanics were what led to his bum elbow

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Jeff Passan — who is writing a book about Tommy John surgery, so it is of special interest to him — has a story today about Masahiro Tanaka and the uncertainties surrounding his elbow. The same elbow which cut his season short last year and which some, Passan included, it seems, believes should have been operated on then instead of, inevitably they believe, later.

For his part Tanaka blames poor mechanics for the strained on his UCL last year and believes he will be fine with mechanical adjustments:

“I don’t think they were solid,” Tanaka told Yahoo Sports through interpreter Shingo Horie recently. “With the right mechanics, the right form, the right balance, you’re able to throw a solid pitch. It’s not about how much power you can put on the throw. It’s more about the mechanics. That’s what I believe.

I have no idea whether Tanaka and the Yankees were right or wrong to decide agains Tommy John surgery. I’ll leave that up to the orthopedic surgeons with whom he and the team consulted and trust that they got good advice and are acting on that good advice.

But the mechanics stuff interests me. Specifically, it will be worth watching as the season begins whether Tanaka has truly altered his mechanics in a way visible to us in the stands. And whether that impacts his effectiveness or creates other problems, as pitchers who change their mechanics up often experience.

Marlins give Don Mattingly two-year extension

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The Marlins have announced that they have inked manager Don Mattingly to a two-year contract extensions. There’s a third year in the form of a mutual option.

Mattingly is finishing up the final year of the four-year contract he signed with the Marlins prior to the 2016 season. He’s 272-364 in that period and the club has lost 99 games already this season. The current bad run, however, obviously corresponds with a massive rebuild the team began undertaking following the 2017 season and the team’s change in ownership. Mattingly has not had much to work with over the past two seasons but he has likewise, largely, kept the team on as even a keel as one could hope under the circumstances. He has certainly impressed the Marlins’ brass enough to take the unusual step of keeping on a manager they inherited from a previous ownership and front office group.

In other news, the Marlins also announced a two-year contract extension for shortstop Miguel Rojas valued at $10.25 million. There’s a vesting option for a third year. The deal buys out Rojas’ final year of arbitration eligibility and one year of free agency, plus that option.

Rojas, 30, is hitting .285/.335/.383 (OPS+ 92) this year.