Masahiro Tanaka is pitching well with a torn elbow ligament

15 Comments

It may be a while before everyone stops holding their breath and crossing their fingers whenever Masahiro Tanaka takes the mound, but so far at least the Yankees ace’s decision to hold off on Tommy John elbow surgery is going well.

Tanaka has thrown 5.2 scoreless innings in two spring training starts, striking out five and allowing just two hits despite pitching with a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi told Wallace Matthews of ESPN New York that he’s “pleased with the way he’s throwing” and Matthews writes that Tanaka “looked free, easy, and in control” in his most recent outing.

Prior to his elbow giving out last season Tanaka was in the mix for the Cy Young award, going 13-5 with a 2.77 ERA and 141/21 K/BB ratio in 136 innings.

Japanese Baseball to begin June 19

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Japanese League commissioner Atsushi Saito announced that Japan’s professional baseball season will open on June 19. Teams can being practice games on June 2. There will be no fans. Indeed, the league has not yet even begun to seriously discuss a plan for fans to begin attending games, though that may happen eventually.

The season will begin three months after its originally scheduled opening day of March 20. It will be 120 games long. Teams in each six-team league — the Central League and Pacific League — will play 24 games against each league opponent. There will be no interleague play and no all-star game.

The announcement came in the wake of a national state of emergency being lifted for both Tokyo and the island of Hokkaido. The rest of the country emerged from the state of emergency earlier this month. This will allow the Japanese leagues to follow leagues in South Korea and Taiwan which have been playing for several weeks.

In the United States, Major League Baseball is hoping to resume spring training in mid June before launching a shortened regular season in early July. That plan is contingent on the league and the players’ union coming to an agreement on both financial arrangements and safety protocols for a 2020 season. Negotiations on both are ongoing. Major League Baseball will, reportedly, make a formal proposal about player compensation tomorrow.