CLEARWATER, FLORIDA – Right-hander Masahiro Tanaka allowed two hits including a solo home run in his first spring start for the New York Yankees on Thursday, but otherwise kept the Philadelphia Phillies quiet in his three innings of a 4-3 win.
The 25-year-old Tanaka, who took the mound after heavy thundershowers delayed the game’s start by 90 minutes, commanded the zone with his fastball and unleashed a nasty splitter to record his only strikeout. He threw a total of 41 pitches, 25 for strikes, and retired seven of 11 batters on ground balls.
The former Tohoku Rakuten ace gave up a double to right-center in the second inning, and with two outs in the third served up a 3-1 fastball that Phillies infielder Freddy Galvis drove out of the park. Tanaka did not factor into the decision, as he finished his three innings with the Yankees down 1-0.
“I was able to get decent results even though I wasn’t in great form,” Tanaka said. “Hopefully, going forward, I can continue to do the same when necessary.
“The home run happened when I was behind in the count. I know where I went wrong and want to concentrate on making the right adjustments for next time.”
Tanaka made his spring debut on Saturday, also against the Phillies, when he pitched two scoreless innings out of the bullpen.
Scottsdale Arizona AP
Arizona pitcher Bronson Arroyo is expected to miss a week to 10 days because of a back injury.
Arroyo was scratched from a scheduled start Tuesday and had an MRI, which revealed a slightly bulging disk.
“We still feel like there’s enough time for him to be ready for the beginning of the season,” manager Kirk Gibson said on Thursday.
The 37-year-old right-hander, who agreed last month to a $23.5 million, two-year contract, has never has been on the disabled list in his professional career.
Gibson said Arroyo could pitch in a minor league exhibition when he’s ready to return to game action.
“I think he wanted to throw today, but I don’t know that was in the cards. Maybe tomorrow,” Gibson said before the Diamondbacks played Oakland. “Just kind of want to make sure we’re on solid footing before introducing twisting in his back again. He’s had this before. It’s kind of resolving itself like it has in the past.”
Dr. Jobe passes away
Los Angeles AP
Dr. Frank Jobe, a pioneering orthopedic surgeon who was the first to perform an elbow procedure that became known as Tommy John surgery and saved the careers of countless major league pitchers, died Thursday. He was 88.
Jobe died in Santa Monica after being hospitalized recently with an undisclosed illness, according to a spokesman for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Jobe performed ground-breaking elbow surgery on John, a Dodgers pitcher who had a ruptured medial collateral ligament in his left elbow. The injury previously had no solution until Jobe removed a tendon from John’s forearm and repaired his elbow. John went on to pitch 14 years after the operation on Sept. 25, 1974, compiling 164 more victories without ever missing a start because of an elbow problem.
“Today I lost a GREAT friend,” John tweeted.
Last year, the initial surgery and the relationship between John and Jobe was the subject of an ESPN documentary.
“When he did come back, I thought maybe we could do it on somebody else,” Jobe told AP in 2010. “I waited two years to try it on somebody else, but we had no idea we could do it again.”
Jobe initially estimated John’s chances of returning to the majors at less than 5 percent. He later said 92 to 95 percent of patients return as good, if not better, than before the surgery.
The surgery has since become common practice for pitchers and players at every level of baseball, including New York Mets pitcher Matt Harvey, Washington star Stephen Strasburg, Milwaukee’s Tim Hudson and Minnesota’s Francisco Liriano.
Some pitchers have signed multiyear contracts just months after they have the surgery in expectation of a high-level return.
Typically, full rehabilitation takes about a year for pitchers and about six months for position players. The procedure initially required four hours; now it takes about an hour.
“I had no idea it would do this,” Jobe told the AP. “It startles me even today that it has done that. The doctors are recognizing the condition early enough to fix it and they are learning how to do the surgery so well. They rehab it so not just the arm, but the whole body gets better.”
Jobe believed the advancements would continue.
“You never want to say in medicine this is the end. You’re always coming up with something a little bit different,” he said. “Even with Tommy John, there’s people doing things slightly different. In their minds they’re getting better.”
Born in Greensboro, North Carolina, in 1925, Jobe joined the Army at 18 and served as a medical staff sergeant in the Army’s 101st Airborne Division during World War II.
After the war, Jobe completed his undergraduate degree at La Sierra University and went on to attend medical school at Loma Linda University. After serving a residency at Los Angeles County Hospital, Jobe teamed with Kerlan to specialize in the new field of sports medicine.
Jobe is survived by wife Beverly, sons Christopher, Meredith, Cameron and Blair, and eight grandchildren.
The family said plans for a memorial were pending.