Yankees News: Masahiro Tanaka Impressive in Third Bullpen Session


We’re still only in February, and New York Yankees ace Masahiro Tanaka has already thrown three bullpen sessions. Fortunately, the young right-hander has yet to experience any issues in his right elbow, the same one in which he suffered a slight UCL-tear last July.

“I was throwing with more force than the last bullpen,’’ Tanaka said through his Japanese translator following a 40-pitch bullpen session Thursday morning during the teams first full-squad workout. “As far as hitting the spots, location, it was better than the last one as well.’’

As I alluded to in my last post on Tanaka, these bullpen sessions aren’t enough to fully determine whether or not the Yankees and Masahiro Tanaka made the proper decision to rehab the ligament tear rather than electing Tommy John surgery, but still, the progress is encouraging for the Yankees organization as well their die-hard’s.

“I feel I am on the right track,’’ the 26-year-old Tanaka told George King III of the New York Post, who was in the midst of a Cy Young caliber season,pitching to a 12-4 record with a 2.51 ERA before suffering the injury. “Going through the workouts and going through the bullpens, it does give me confidence I am moving in the right direction.’’

According to Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild, Tanaka’s next step will be throwing live batting practice now that the entire team has finally arrived to Tampa.

“I will check with him on Friday,’’ Rothschild said about when the live BP session is set to take place. “Based on what I saw today, I don’t see anything getting in the way of our schedule. Everything is progressing the way we like it, so we keep going.’’

Because the Yankees are scheduled to the play 30 games in 31 days between April 17 and May 17, there has been a ton of speculation that the Yankees will use a six man rotation to start the season and ease the workload on Tanaka as well as Sabathia and Pineda in the early part of the 2015 season.

Tanaka, who worked in a six-man pitching staff in Japan, welcomes the idea.

“Getting that extra day to recover is good for me,’’ Tanaka said.

Good news Yankee fans! Good news indeed!

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