Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Tanaka Feeling Healthy, but Yanks Take It Slowly

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Tanaka Feeling Healthy, but Yanks Take It Slowly

Article excerpt

It's never too early to worry about the Yankees' rotation.

Four months after surgery to remove a bone spur from his right elbow, Masahiro Tanaka "can't really say" whether he'll be good to go by opening day.

"We'll take it day by day," Tanaka told reporters Friday in Tampa, Fla., through a translator, when asked if he anticipated being ready to start by the April 4 opener. "I feel that I can't really talk about that at this point.

"I just want to see myself go into the bullpen, get the innings in and see how I feel."

Tanaka, 27, has been throwing on flat ground at the Yankees' minor league complex, prior to Thursday's official reporting date for pitchers and catchers.

On Thursday night, general manager Brian Cashman mentioned that Tanaka already had been medically examined in New York before heading to Tampa for his third Yankees spring training.

"He may be a little behind for precautionary purposes only," Cashman said of Tanaka. "But he's healthy. There's no issues, there's been no hiccups, no complaints or concerns."

But as they did last spring, the Yankees have chosen to gradually ramp up Tanaka for the season.

Entering 2015, Tanaka was coming off rehab for a small, right- elbow ligament tear, suffered the previous summer, that carried the looming prospect of Tommy John surgery. The right-hander did not make his first exhibition start until March 12 but was the Yankees' opening day starter.

This spring, Tanaka is coming off the surgery to remove a bone spur - a condition both he and the club knew about prior to signing a seven-year, $153 million contract before the 2014 season.

On Friday, Tanaka stressed that he was "perfectly healthy."

Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild said he expected Tanaka to be ready by April to take his first turn in the rotation, barring anything unforeseen. …

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