Tanaka returned to Japan with his family late in March, Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News reports. Many foreign-born players are returning to their countries of origin, so this is not surprising or cause for alarm. The Yankees are not keeping close tabs on Tanaka, as he usually dictates his own preparations during the offseason.
Tanaka threw in the bullpen Sunday in order to keep his arm in shape, Bryan Hoch of MLB.com reports. Like most players who had already started ramping up their activity before play was suspended, Tanaka is faced with the dilemma of maintaining a training schedule while having no set date for the start of the regular season. With Monday's announcement that Opening Day will not take place for at least eight weeks and a corresponding recommendation by commissioner Rob Manfred to shut down all facilities (per Bob Nightengale of USA Today), it remains to be seen how Tanaka and other players will adjust their workouts.
Tanaka fired 3.2 scoreless innings in Sunday's 1-0 exhibition win over the Braves, striking out four while allowing one hit and issuing one walk. Dansby Swanson's out-out single in the top of the first was the only damage the Braves could muster against Tanaka, who has been untouchable this spring. Through three outings, Tanaka has allowed only two runs on three hits over 8.2 innings while posting a gaudy 11:0 K:BB. With James Paxton (back) set to open the season on the injured list, Tanaka looks primed to head into Opening Day as the Yankees' No. 2 starter behind ace Gerrit Cole.
Tanaka pitched three perfect innings against the Red Sox in a spring start Tuesday, striking out five. Tanaka's second spring outing was an improvement over his two-inning, two-run performance in his debut last week. That's an encouraging sign for the Yankees, who will open the season without Luis Severino (elbow) and James Paxton (back). Tanaka will assume the role of No. 2 starter, at least until Paxton returns.
Tanaka has been refining his cutter under the tutelage of Andy Pettitte, Brendan Kuty of NJ Advance Media reports. Per Statcast, Tanaka threw his cutter only 1.6 percent of the time last season. Adding the pitch to his arsenal more frequently could help balance an inevitable loss of velocity as the 31-year-old ages. In 2019, Tanaka registered career-low average speeds on both his slider and four-seamer.
Last 7 Games