New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka smiles during a news conference at spring training baseball, Friday, Feb. 20, 2015, in Tampa, Fla. Yankees pitchers and catchers begin official workouts Feb. 21. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Lynne Sladky
February 20, 2015

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) New York Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka says his elbow injury from last season is behind him and expects to pitch this year problem free.

Tanaka missed 2 1/2 months last year while rehabilitating a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. He returned for two late-September starts.

''I feel it is healed,'' Tanaka said Friday through an interpreter. ''I am able to throw the ball absolutely fine.''

Tanaka threw 21 pitches in his first bullpen session Thursday and plans to be back on a mound Sunday.

''At this point I feel like he's in pretty good shape,'' Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.

Signed to a $155 million, seven-year contract, Tanaka went 13-5 with a 2.77 ERA in 20 starts.

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