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19 Masahiro Tanaka SP
Height/Weight: 6-2/210 | Birthdate: 11/1/1988 | Birthplace: Itami, Hyogo, Japan | Bats/Throws: R/R | Team: New York | College: None | MLB Experience: 1 | Owned/Started%: 89/24 | Average Draft Position: 50.14
NYY

Latest Updates

 

Yankees tab Masahiro Tanaka for Opening Day start


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3/27/2015) Yankees manager Joe Girardi announced Friday starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka will start Opening Day (April 6) against the Blue Jays. It will be his first Opening Day start.

Girardi added Tanaka will be followed in the rotation by Michael Pineda, CC Sabathia and Nathan Eovaldi. Sabathia has started the last six openers for New York.

“We feel that’s the way it works the best. We feel that gives everybody a chance to be pretty ready,” Girardi said, per the New York Post. “Tanaka will be on a little bit of a pitch count the first time. We just like the way it works for our guys.”

The Yankees have not yet officially announced a fifth starter, but general manager Brian Cashman indicated earlier this week Adam Warren is the favorite to land the final spot in the rotation.

Tanaka and Sabathia were considered the top two candidates to start Opening Day. However, Girardi held off in making the decision as he wanted to see how both pitchers responded this spring coming off injury-plagued campaigns in 2014. While Sabathia is coming off knee surgery, Tanaka did not undergo surgery last season for a partially torn UCL. Although, he did miss a few months due to the elbow injury.

Tanaka is 1-1 with a 1.74 ERA in three spring starts. He also has 12 strikeouts to just one walk in 10 1/3 innings.


Tanaka's two-seamer not fast enough as Yankees fall to Mets


(3/25/2015) After not allowing a run in his first two spring starts, Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka was touched for three runs (two earned) on four hits while striking out seven in 4 2/3 innings against the Mets on Wednesday.

Tanaka gave up a home run to Mets left fielder John Mayberry in the fourth inning.

Tanaka has been working on a two-seam fastball this spring which has resulted in a lower velocity.

“The reason I’m not throwing much is that a lot of the four-seamers have been hit last year during the regular season,” Tanaka said. “So I’m doing this on purpose, I’m working on the two-seamers purposely.”

While Tanaka said he’s basically throwing all two-seam fastballs this spring, he still intends to use his four-seamer during the regular season.

“I think there’s room for both [fastballs],” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.

Report: Tanaka the favorite over Sabathia to start Opening Day


by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(3/24/2015) Masahiro Tanaka appears to be the favorite over CC Sabathia to start on Opening Day for the Yankees on April 6 against the Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium, according to ESPN.

Sabathia has started on Opening Day 11 times, including the last six years with the Yankees. Tanaka has done it once, while pitching in Japan.

Tanaka went 13-5 with a 2.77 ERA last season, and has not allowed a run through 5 2/3 innings of work in Grapefruit League play. Sabathia is coming off a knee injury that limited him to just eight starts in 2014. He owns a whopping 11.57 ERA this spring.


Masahiro Tanaka 'absolutely' wants to start Yankees' opener


by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(3/22/2015) Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka said he wants to be the Opening Day starter this season. 

Tanaka and CC Sabathia are believed to be manager Joe Girardi's two options for the honor. Sabathia has said that he doesn't care if he gets the call on Opening Day, Tanaka said he "absolutely" wants to pitch the opener, according to NJ.com's Brendan Kuty.

Sabathia has started on Opening Day 11 times, including the last six years with the Yankees. Tanaka has done it once, while pitching in Japan. 


Yankees' Masahiro Tanaka tosses three strikeouts Wednesday


by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/18/2015) Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka allowed just two hits over 3 2/3 innings Wednesday with three strikeouts. He also came out of the appearance unscathed, trying to keep doubters at bay about his arm holding up this season, reports the New York Daily News.

"I try not to put too much expectation on myself," Tanaka said through his translator. "I just try to go out there and be the best that I can any time that I take the mound."

Tanaka has yet to allow a run in his two appearances this spring with five strikeouts and no walks.

"Overall, I think everything was good," Tanaka said. "I think it was as good as my first start."


Girardi not ready to choose between CC, Tanaka for Opening Day start


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3/18/2015) Starting pitchers CC Sabathia and Masahiro Tanaka are lining up to be the top candidates to start Opening Day for the Yankees. However, manager Joe Girardi isn't quite ready to choose between the two, per The Journal News.

“We’ll just see who’s ready,” Girardi said. “We have to see where (Sabathia’s)’s at. That’s been the whole thing all along here. We’ve been patient with him and Tanaka because we want to see where they’re at.

"I think the way we’re looking at it is, who’s ready? We want to make sure that person is ready, obviously. You look at the rotation and how does it benefit each guy? You’re the No. 1 guy on the day you pitch; that’s all that matters to me. Whether you’re the first starter, the second starter, you’re still that No. 1 guy and you’re still going to take your turn every five days or every six days if we have an off-day. I’m not a big believer of skipping people, so it’s just formality, really.

“Neither one of them (Sabathia or Tanaka) have made a lot of starts in spring training,” Girardi said. “So something could change our mind. I’m pretty open-minded about it right now. Obviously I’ll have to change my mind pretty soon, but right now, that’s not a huge decision for me.”


Yankees' Tanaka feeling good day after making spring debut


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3/13/2015) Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, who missed time in 2014 due to an elbow injury, said he felt good one day after making his spring debut Thursday against the Braves, per the New York Post.

“Absolutely no problem,” Tanaka said through a translator on Friday at Steinbrenner Field. “I think I feel better than last year. Just like everybody, it’s important for me to feel healthy after any outing."

Tanaka's next start is scheduled for Wednesday. He is expected to throw 45 pitches.


Yankees P Masahiro Tanaka perfect in debut


(3/12/2015) Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka retired all six batters he faced in his first Grapefruit League start of the season. He struck out two batters while slinging 15 of his 19 pitches for strikes. The right-hander was perfect in his debut and his right elbow is feeling better since the injury, MLB.com reports.

"I was able to throw it just like the way that I would throw before I got injured," Tanaka said through an interpreter. "I feel good that I was able to come out strong."


Girardi: Yankees have high expectations for Masahiro Tanaka


by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(3/12/2015) Yankees manager Joe Girardi told reporters he has high expectations for starter Masahiro Tanaka this season, according to NJ.com.

"I know he expects a lot from himself, that he demands a lot from himself," Girardi said. "Yeah, we have high expectations because we've seen what he can do. The big thing is, he pulls his weight."

Tanaka is seeking a bounce-back campaign after missing significant time in 2014 due to a partially-torn ulnar collateral ligament. He finished the season with a 13-5 record, 2.77 ERA and 141:21 K:BB ratio in 136 1/3 innings.


Yankees' Tanaka to throw two innings in spring debut


by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(3/11/2015) Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka will throw two innings in his spring debut Thursday, and general manager Brian Cashman said Wednesday that the team is proceeding without restrictions, MLB.com reports.

"It's not in my control whether Tanaka stays healthy for 10 more years or 10 more days," Cashman said. "It's not something, quite honestly, I'm going to worry about. If it declares itself in an adverse way, we'll just have to deal with it and do whatever the next course of action is, which would be a surgery if he has a problem, you'd think. But he's been great."

Tanaka threw 29 pitches in two innings in a simulated game Saturday. He was limited to 20 starts during his rookie campaign while dealing with elbow issues.


Yankees' Girardi: Masahiro Tanaka set for spring debut Thursday


by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(3/8/2015) Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Sunday that pitcher Masahiro Tanaka would definitely make his spring debut Thursday, YESNetwork.com reports.

Tanaka threw 29 pitches during two innings in a simulated game Saturday morning. He's working into form after being limited to just 20 starts during his rookie season due to elbow issues.


Masahiro Tanaka moves closer to return for Yankees


by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(3/7/2015) The Yankees' Masahiro Tanaka took the next step in his comeback from last season's elbow injury. 

Tanaka threw 29 pitches in a two-inning simulated game on Saturday morning. He didn't allow any clear hits, and pitching coach Larry Rothschild said it was a good day. "He's exactly where you want him to be at this point in spring training," Rothschild said.

The next step for Tanaka may be an appearance in a spring training game. 


Yankees' Tanaka, Sabathia getting closer to pitching in spring game


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3/6/2015) Yankees starting pitchers Masahiro Tanaka and CC Sabathia are progressing in their preparation for the start of the season, per MLB.com. 

Sabathia, who is coming off knee surgery, reported no issues after throwing 20 pitches in batting practice Thursday. Tanaka, who missed time in 2014 due to an elbow injury, will face hitters in a simulated game Friday.

Manager Joe Girardi said Sabathia will throw one more sim game before making his spring debut. Tanaka, however, will have to wait a little longer for his first spring action.

"Last year, we were trying to learn [about] him, and he was trying to learn us and learn the league," Girardi said of Tanaka. "I think this year, it's just important that we do what we feel is best for him.

"These guys are going to compete and understand the work they have to get in, whether it's a simulated game or a regular game. You can say all you want it's competition, but the competition you're going to face in April is different than the competition you're going to face now, because guys don't stay in the whole game and you don't get to go through all your pitches. There's a little bit more of an edge come April 1."


Giradi: Yankees' Tanaka to make spring debut late next week


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3/4/2015) Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Wednesday starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka should make his spring debut sometime late next week, according to The Wall Street Journal. The Yankees are being cautious with Tanaka after he dealt with an elbow injury last season.

Yankees' Masahiro Tanaka throws live BP session Monday


by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(3/2/2015) Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka threw his first live batting practice session Monday morning and showed no signs of struggle or discomfort, The Journal News reports.

He missed significant time in 2014 due to a partially-torn ulnar collateral ligament but was able to make two starts in September. He finished the season with a 13-5 record, 2.77 ERA and 141:21 K:BB ratio in 136 1/3 innings.

"As for the first time, I think it went well," Tanaka said through an interpreter, per the Associated Press. "I tried not to go too hard today. The reason is, it's natural once you get on the mound and once you're facing batters you want to go hard. That's what I was thinking on the mound.

"I understand that everybody's worried about the elbow and I understand too that I have to be cautious about it as well, but so far it's been good."


Yankees' Masahiro Tanaka felt he threw with 'more force' Thursday


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2/26/2015) Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka threw 40 pitches during a bullpen session Thursday and received rave reviews from pitching coach Larry Rothschild.

“He threw great,” Rothschild said, per The Journal News. “Everything is progressing the way we like, so we’ll just keep going. … No (restrictions). We’re just bringing him along at a pace that he’s more accustomed to. A little different schedule as far as not trying to put a lot of pitches on him in a three- or four-day period, but still get him built up and get the stamina built up. That’s pretty much what we’re doing.”

Tanaka said he felt more arm strength Thursday than in his previous bullpen sessions, and he also felt he was throwing the ball harder.

“I think I was throwing with more force than the last bullpen,” Tanaka said. “As far as hitting the spots, the location goes, I think it was better than the last bullpen as well. … I feel that I’m on the right track. Going through the workouts and going through the bullpen today also, it does give me confidence that I’m moving in the right direction.”


Yankees' Cashman not wasting time worrying over Tanaka's elbow


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2/23/2015) Yankees general manager Brian Cashman was in the vicinity Sunday of starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka's bullpen session, per New York Daily News.

However, Cashman wasn't there to watch Tanaka, who sustained a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow that sidelined him for 2 1/2 months in 2014. 

“I’m not going to waste my time worrying about something I can’t control,” Cashman said. “I was watching the new guy we got, (Chris) Martin. If Tanaka’s healthy he’s going to be successful, I know that. If not, it will declare itself over time and we’ll deal with it.”


Yankees' Girardi: Masahiro Tanaka won't be restricted this spring


by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(2/20/2015) Yankees manager Joe Girardi told reporters Friday that starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, who completed his first bullpen session of the spring on Thursday, is essentially on the same throwing program that he was on last spring. He will have no restrictions in terms of throwing, according to the New York Daily News. He is scheduled to throw his second session on Sunday. 

Tanaka sustained a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow that sidelined him for 2 1/2 months in 2014. He made two September starts near the end of the season.

Tanaka told reporters his elbow "has healed" and is "confident" he'll make it through the season. Tanaka finished his 2014 season 13-5 with an ERA of 2.77.


Yankees P Masahiro Tanaka throws bullpen session Thursday


by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(2/19/2015) As expected, Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka threw his first bullpen session of the spring training season on Thursday, according to NJ.com.

Tanaka threw 21 pitches but didn't appear to be going a full 100 percent, which is common for any pitcher this time of the year. He also reportedly didn't appear to experience any pain during the session.

Tanaka sustained a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow that sidelined him for 2 1/2 months in 2014. He made two September starts near the end of the season.

Tanaka finished his 2014 season 13-5 with an ERA of 2.77.


Yankees' Masahiro Tanaka expected to throw 'pen session Thursday


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2/18/2015) Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka is expected to throw his first bullpen session this spring Thursday, according to the Associated Press. Tanaka missed 2 1/2 months last year while rehabilitating a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow before returning for two September starts.

Tanaka threw for 34 minutes on level ground Tuesday.

“Just pretty much what I expected to see,” Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild said Wednesday. “No problems. Right now everything is where it should be.

“We’ll bring him along as his arm will dictate. I’m not going to push it. As things crop up, if we need to deal with them we will. Right now, I’m just looking at him as a guy that we’re going to bring along according to how his arm will allow us. I’m approaching it that he’s a healthy pitcher that we just need to be aware of what the history is there.”


Rothschild: Yankees pondering using a sixth starter in April and May


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2/18/2015) Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild said Wednesday the team is considering using a sixth starter at times in April and May to help reduce a potential early strain on their rotation, per MLB.com. The Yankees have a stretch of 30 games in 31 days beginning April 17.

"It's a result of some of the stuff that's gone on over the last few years, not just here, but everywhere," Rothschild said. "We're aware of situations here and early in the season, we need to get these guys through these stretches. Being that possibly early in the spring, some of them aren't going to be able to throw a lot, we're going to need to build them up too and give them the extra days when we can."

CC Sabathia, Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, Nathan Eovaldi and Chris Capuano are expected to make up the team's five-man rotation. However, Tanaka, Sabathia and Pineda were all injured last season, as the Yankees used 13 starting pitchers.

Bryan MitchellEsmil RogersAdam Warren and Chase Whitley are some of the other pitchers that will be stretched out this spring.

"It'd be nice to go through a season with five starters, but there's a good chance we're not going to," Rothschild said. "There's a good chance every team in baseball won't, so it doesn't hurt to see who might fit in as a sixth starter."


Yankees' Masahiro Tanaka turns in first workout of spring


by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(2/17/2015) Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka threw for 34 minutes on level ground -- part of his first workout of the spring on Tuesday, reports the Associated Press. Tanaka threw at up to about 200 feet and ended his session with 16 ground-level pitches at 60 feet.

"He looked good," teammate Ivan Nova said. "I'm sure he worked really hard. The way he handled it, unbelievable."

The right-hander sat out the final 2 1/2 months during his first season in pinstripes because of partially torn ulnar collateral ligament. He avoided Tommy John surgery and appeared in two late-September starts. He went 13-5 with a 2.77 ERA and 141:21 K:BB ratio in 136 1/3 innings in 2014.


Yankees' Masahiro Tanaka set to begin spring workouts


by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(2/16/2015) Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka was scheduled to arrive in Florida Monday night from Japan to begin spring workouts, the Associated Press reports.

Tanaka missed 2 1/2 months during his rookie season while recovering from a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament. The pitcher chose to rehab the injury rather than undergo Tommy John surgery.

"So far everything is good," pitching coach Larry Rothschild said Monday. "That doesn't mean it will be going forward, but we're going to do everything we can. We'll put schedules together and things like that to try to keep him healthy."

The Yankees say Tanaka has been throwing in Japan as part of his normal conditioning program, per the report. Tanaka went 13-5 with a 2.77 ERA and 141:21 K:BB ratio in 136 1/3 innings during his first major-league season in 2014. He posted quality starts in his first 16 outings before giving up four earned runs or more in three of his last four starts. His only start during that stretch with fewer than four runs came in his return from the lengthy absence, when he allowed just one run in 5 1/3 innings.


Yanks' Rothschild on Tanaka: 'Until we know different, he's healthy'


by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2/9/2015) Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka told reporters in January his elbow felt great after missing a few months last season due to a slightly torn elbow ligament. Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild indicated he has received positive update on Tanaka's status, but added he won't know how the right-handed pitcher is “until I see him.”

“Until we know different, he’s healthy,” Rothschild said of Tanaka, per the New York Post. “I’ve communicated with him. He’s followed what we set up. So far, he’s felt good.

“He had a good winter. He’s been following the program throwing. I don’t think he’s overdone it throwing-wise, but he’s pretty much on program.”

Rothschild said the team will have to figure out a plan for Tanaka this spring to make sure he is ready for the start of the season.

“We’ve got to manage a few guys in spring training and try to get them through healthy, and he’s one of them,” Rothschild said. “We’ll go a lot by how he’s feeling in between [outings] and make sure he gets a rest. He’s got to get built up to be ready to pitch.”


Masahiro Tanaka says his elbow feels good


by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(1/28/2015) Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka told the Japan Times that his elbow feels fine as he prepares for spring training, per The Star-Ledger. Tanaka has a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament that could eventually require Tommy John surgery.

Tanaka missed more than two months last season due to the injury. After the layoff, he was able to make two starts toward the end of the season and finished 13-5 with a 2.77 ERA.

"So far, so good -- including that [elbow]," Tanaka said.

The Yankees signed Tanaka last offseason to a seven-year, $155 million contract.