New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka is inching closer to a full return to the mound after undergoing elbow surgery in October. It is uncertain if he will be ready to pitch on Opening Day.
Continue for updates.
Girardi Comments on Tanaka's Progress
Thursday, March 17
"We've got to see how he bounces back after we build up his pitch count a little bit," manager Joe Girardi told reporters when asked about whether Tanaka would start on Opening Day. "My thought process now is I don't anticipate it being a problem, but let's just wait and see."
Tanaka to Make Spring Debut vs. Phillies
Thursday, March 3
Tanaka Completes First Mound Session
Sunday, Feb. 14
The Associated Press (via ESPN.com) reported Tanaka "reported no issues" after the session.
"He didn't try to push it too much, but it was good,'' Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild said after. "He wasn't midseason form, but he was where he should be. His arm worked well. Didn't look like there were any problems. Today he felt good, which was more important.''
Tanaka Comments on Recovery Timeline
Friday, Feb. 12
Tanaka told Erik Boland of Newsday that he's "perfectly healthy," though he's uncertain about Opening Day. He added, "Can't say for sure just because...I'm building myself up toward the season."
Rothschild Comments on Tanaka's Recovery
Tuesday, Feb. 9
Rothschild confirmed Tuesday that Tanaka's rehabilitation remains on track this spring, per the Associated Press (via ESPN.com).
Tanaka Battling Injuries Throughout Short MLB Career
Tanaka's arm issues go back to July 2014, when he was diagnosed with a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. Generally, Tommy John surgery is the next step, but Tanaka and the Yankees opted against that approach, and the All-Star pitcher returned in September.
However, he headed back to the disabled list late last April and missed all of May before coming back on June 3 against the Seattle Mariners. The arm problems persisted, leading to his eventual surgery.
Not only will Tanaka play a big role in the Yankees' playoff hopes in 2016, but the team is also paying him $22 million annually for the next four years and then $23 million in 2020. New York won't get anything close to a return on that investment if Tanaka's injuries keep affecting his performance going forward.
Judging by his continued progress, it looks as though the Japanese star will be ready for Opening Day on April 4. Both the team and Yankees fans alike will be monitoring his every move during his rehab throughout spring training to ensure he doesn't suffer any setbacks.