Legends On Deck

Masahiro Tanaka Returns To Mound For Yankees

Masahiro Tanaka suffering a partial tear of his right ulnar collateral ligament last July, then made two starts in September before returning on Thursday to the New York Yankees rotation.

In his Spring debut against the Atlanta Braves, the right hander had a successful return to the mound as he pitched two perfect innings retiring all six batters that he faced.

Tanaka threw 19 total pitches, striking out two batters and getting four others to ground out.

“Overall, I think it was good,” Tanaka told MLB.com through an interpreter. “Probably the best part is that I was able to get first-pitch strikes a whole lot tonight.”

A healthy and consistent Tanaka is what the Yankees need in their rotation, especially with  CC Sabathia limited from his right knee surgery, Chris Capuano now likely headed to the DL with a strained right quad he suffered on March 11, and Ivan Nova‘s absense until at least May as he recovers from his Tommy John Surgery.

If Tanaka holds up, he will join Michael Pineda as the only healthy returning starters from last season. It will be interesting to see who else makes up the Yankees five man rotation come Opening Day.

David Conde
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