TAMPA — New York Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild says offseason reports on Japanese ace Masahiro Tanaka’s right elbow have been positive.
“So far he’s felt good,” Rothschild said Monday at the Yankees minor league complex. “He’s had a good winter.”
Tanaka is throwing and doing his normal conditioning program in Japan. Signed to a $155 million, seven-year contract in January 2014, Tanaka went 13-5 with a .277 ERA over 20 starts. He missed 2 1/2 months while rehabilitating a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in the elbow and returned for two late September starts. Boston chased him with an eight-run second inning in his finale on Sept. 27.
“The last start he didn’t pitch well, but he didn’t feel bad,” Rothschild said. “We’ve got to manage a few guys in spring training and try and get them through healthy, and he’s one of them.”
Rothschild also has received encouraging reports on CC Sabathia, who was sidelined with a degenerative cartilage problem in his right knee and had season-ending surgery in July.
The six-time All-Star and 2007 AL Cy Young Award winner was 3-4 in eight starts with a career-worst 5.28 ERA.
“He needs to pitch this spring,” Rothschild said.” He hasn’t pitched much the last two years, so you’ve got to watch his arm too and get that ready, and be smart about that. The knee, you’ve got to be aware of. There’s a lot that we’ve just got to pay attention to.”
NOTES: The Yankees agreed to a minor league contract with 31-year-old right-hander Kyle Davies, who hasn’t pitched in the major leagues since 2011, when he was 1-9 for Kansas City. Davies was 11-9 with a 3.91 ERA last year in 26 starts for Double-A Akron and Triple-A Columbus. He has a 43-69 big league record with a 5.59 ERA.
MARK DIDTLER, Associated Press