New York Yankees right-handed starter Masahiro Tanaka threw off a mound on Tuesday for the first time since elbow surgery in October. With the Yankees lacking starting pitching depth, it is even more important that Tanaka comes back healthy and is able to contribute.

The surgery this past October removed a bone spur in his right elbow that had been causing inflammation and forcing him to miss starts. Tanaka was diagnosed with a partially torn elbow ligament in 2014, when as a rookie, he went 13-5 in 20 starts. He was 12-7 with a 3.51 ERA in 24 starts last year, while also being on the disabled list from April 23rd to June 3rd. Tanaka would also miss a start in September to a hamstring strain before being out-dueled by Dallas Keuchel and the Houston Astros in the AL wild-card game.

Tanaka and the Yankees hope that this surgery can keep their ace off the disabled list for not only this upcoming season, but for years to come.