Tanaka says 'the goal is to go 200 innings'

Japanese pitcher, wife welcomed arrival of baby boy this week

Tanaka says 'the goal is to go 200 innings'

TAMPA, Fla. -- It has already been a memorable start to the year for Masahiro Tanaka and his wife, Japanese television personality Mai Satoda, as they celebrated the arrival of a baby boy this week in New York.

Tanaka returned to camp on Thursday as the Yankees' pitchers and catchers officially reported to George M. Steinbrenner Field, and the right-hander has a clear idea of how he'd like to finish this upcoming campaign.

"The goal is to go 200 innings, and I think that the important part is to be healthy enough to pitch throughout the season," Tanaka said through an interpreter.

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The 27-year-old Tanaka was 12-7 with a 3.51 ERA in 24 starts last year, and he is recovering from offseason surgery to remove a bone spur from his pitching elbow.

Asked if he will be behind schedule this spring, Tanaka replied, "Possibly, just comparing with my other teammates, as far as the schedule goes. But as far as my conditioning goes, I'm at a pretty good place. I feel that for myself, I'm right where I want to be at this point."

Tanaka resumed throwing off a mound last weekend at Steinbrenner Field, throwing about 20 pitches as pitching coach Larry Rothschild watched.

"We will watch him closely to see where he's at," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "Some guys have thrown a few more [bullpen sessions]. We'll make sure we put him in a situation where he's ready to pitch before we put him in a game. If it takes a little longer, it takes a little longer."

Tanaka said that he believes the surgery will help him recapture the form he showed early in 2014, when he was 11-3 with a 2.10 ERA in his first 16 Major League starts, striking out 127 against 18 walks in 115 2/3 innings.

"I feel confident I can match that time," Tanaka said.

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.