It might not feel like it in New York City, but spring training has officially begun for the Yankees in Tampa, Florida.
Pitchers and catchers officially reported for their physicals at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa this morning. The Yankees will have their first full squad workout on Feb. 26 and will play their first spring training game on March 3 in Clearwater against the Philadelphia Phillies.
One pitcher that the Yankees will need to keep healthy the whole season is Masahiro Tanaka. He was outstanding when healthy last season, as he had 2.77 ERA, 141 strikeouts and only 21 walks in his 20 starts, but he missed 2.5 months because of a partially torn UCL in his right elbow. Tankaka also allowed five earned runs in only 1.2 innings in his final start of the 2014 season.
However, there is positive news from Tanaka as he threw his first bullpen session yesterday and came away feeling normal. He threw 21 pitches with pitching coach Larry Rothschild watching. A lot can’t be taken out of bullpen session at the minor league complex, but it is a good sign that he came out of it without any pain and “smiled and waved” after it was finished. Tanaka also added that he is confident that he will be able to make it through the whole season.
During Joe Girardi’s start-of-spring-training press conference, Girardi answered questions about distractions that A-Rod might cause, the injury question marks in the rotation (CC and Tanaka), the increased youth on the roster, the competition for various spots, the possibility of a six-man rotation and the possibility of co-closers. He said that they could decide to have a six-man rotation when they play 18 games in a row without an off day early in the season.
Here is Girardi’s response when he was asked about Alex-Rodriguez’s recent hand-written apology: