Yankees’ News: Masahiro Tanaka’s Strong Debut


Masahiro Tanaka made his Spring debut for the New York Yankees on Thursday. He has been a major concern heading into 2015 because of his diagnosed partially torn UCL that limited him in 2014. Tanaka put together an impressive first half last season and, in doing so, he was named an All-Star for it.

However, his injury kept him shut down for the majority of the season and he dropped from a strong contender for American League Rookie of the Year to finishing fifth.

He pitched two perfect innings in his debut and made the Atlanta Braves look lost at the plate. Tanaka’s pitches were working on all levels as he used his fastball, which sat in the low 90’s, to set up his offspeed pitches. He struck out two batters, one with his slider and another with his splitter. His splitter was also used to induce ground balls. He was more than effective and so much to the point that he had to finish his scheduled work in the bullpen. Tanaka was supposed to throw 30 pitches but only threw 19 in his two innings of work, 15 of which were strikes.

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It is extremely important for Tanaka to remain healthy and have a strong 2015. He is the pivotal point for the Yankees’ season and much of their success will depend on his performance. In the down 2014 season with a struggling rotation, Tanaka emerged as a bright spot and became the ace that they desperately needed. As this season is almost under way, it doesn’t look much better than last. There are numerous health concerns with the rotation and outside of Tanaka there wasn’t a dominant pitcher last season.

If there is one thing that isn’t in question about Tanaka, it is strong work ethic. There is hope, Adam Wainwright had successful seasons on a partially torn UCL. It isn’t a death sentence and the Yankees are holding their breath because their pitching sits on his shoulders.

Next: Who Will Be The Fifth Starter?

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