Report: Tanaka Impresses His Teammates

Earlier this morning, Masahiro Tanaka threw his first live BP session of the spring. (Live meaning he pitched to real live, breathing baseball players for the first time.) Tanaka threw to catcher Brian McCann and when asked how it went, McCann said, “Great. He worked all his pitches in there,” He added, “His fastball command was there, his off-speed I thought was great. His split had some great action on it. His cutter, his slider – he was sharp.”

Tanaka faced four batters - Austin Romine, Ramon Flores, Adonis Garcia and Antoan Richardson. According to Pete Caldera of, the only contact was a couple of foul balls and a grounder to second by Garcia. Romine said, “I’m glad he’s on our team,” And after Tanaka threw his splitter, Romine had to ask McCann if that's what it was because as Romine said following his BP, “I’ve never seen anything like that before.”

Brian Cashman, Joe Girardi and Larry Rothschild all observed Tanaka's session.

Wally Matthews of ESPN NY tweeted while Tanaka was throwing his session and remarked on how slowly Tanaka works. He also tweeted that Romine yelled, "Woo!" after Tanaka offered up his sneaky splitter.

Yes, it's early and yes, he wasn't facing guys like Derek Jeter or Mark Teixeira but I'm liking what I'm reading from Tampa so far.