In all, it has been a stress-free exhibition slate for Tanaka, who set career highs in wins (14), innings (199 2/3), starts (31) and strikeouts (165) last season.
“I just think of how free and easy it’s been,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said before the game. “We haven’t had to worry about coming off of surgery. That’s been the best part. I think his split has been better this spring, too.”
Tanaka, 28, is more than a year removed from arthroscopic surgery to remove a bone spur from his pitching elbow, which stalled him last spring. He also has long since put to rest concerns about his ability to continue pitching with a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament.
“He feels healthier, and I think he’s gotten more accustomed to what we do here,” Girardi said. “The schedule and each year he’s adjusted better to throwing on the fifth day. I think his body is just more prepared for it.”