Excellent news for the Yankees and their fans here, as right-hander Masahiro Tanaka threw two perfect innings this evening in his Grapefruit League debut against the Braves.
Tanaka struck out two batters and induced four weak groundballs. He topped out at 94 mph and threw 15 out of 19 pitches for strikes while exhibiting good control of his splitter. It’s worth noting that Tanaka got through his two innings so quickly that he finished his night by throwing some more pitches in the bullpen. You really couldn’t ask for much better.
Tanaka was diagnosed with a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow last July, but he decided to rehab the elbow on the advice of doctors rather than have Tommy John surgery. He made it back for two starts in September and had a normal offseason, so the Yankees are planning on him being a part of their rotation this year. Who knows if his elbow will hold up, but tonight we can emphasize the positive. If healthy, Tanaka and Michael Pineda could really be something at the top of that rotation.