A quick pause on the Prospect Week festivities to touch on something noteworthy. Per an AP report earlier today, Masahiro Tanaka threw off a mound for the first time since having surgery in October to remove a bone spur from his pitching elbow. The bullpen session took place in New York, where Tanaka was presumably getting looked at by team doctors in preparation for his reporting to spring camp next week. From the sounds of it, pitching coach Larry Rothschild was in attendance for the bullpen session, although no quotes were given and there was no report on the specifics of the throwing session that I saw. Tanaka is the most important part of what could be a very volatile rotation mix again in 2016. When he's been healthy, he's proven to be a very good starting pitcher capable of being unhittable when he has everything working. The problem has been his inability to stay healthy and the rash of different arm injuries that have limited his workload in each of his first 2 seasons. Even though there have been no reports of setbacks from the offseason surgery and he is on schedule for his rehab/offseason work according to the team, finding out that he just threw off a mound again for the first time less than 10 days from pitchers and catchers reporting doesn't exactly give you a warm fuzzy.
I was already expecting Joe to take it easy on Tanaka this spring and actively seek out ways to manage his workload early in the season again. Knowing this new bit of information, I'm curious to see how careful the Yankees are with him. I admittedly don't know enough about Tanaka's normal offseason routine to know if he doesn't throw off a mound until early February anyway, but knowing he hasn't since the surgery makes me think the Yankees might err even more on the side of caution during ST.