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Tanaka throws from mound for first time since surgery

Kyodo

New York Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka threw from the mound on Saturday for the first time since undergoing elbow surgery in October.

Tanaka, who had arthroscopic surgery to remove bone spurs from his elbow, worked out behind closed doors after previously throwing from flat ground. He threw to a catcher to get the sense of using the mound slope, according to the team.

Tanaka was 12-7 with a 3.51 ERA in 24 starts last season before going under the knife. This winter, he was training at the Sendai facility of his old team, the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, before returning to the United States on Monday.

Tanaka said on Friday he was unsure if he will be ready for opening day against the Houston Astros, but was optimistic about the new season.

“I feel that I can’t really talk about that at this point. I just want to see myself going to the bullpen, get the innings in, see how I feel,” Tanaka told the Yankees’ official website.

“I’m still at the stage of building myself up toward the season, but I feel it’s going to be a better season.”