TAMPA, Fla. -- New York Yankees ace Masahiro Tanaka says he is not thinking about his opt-out provision.
Tanaka's seven-year, $155 million contract allows him to terminate the deal after this season, give up a $23 million annual salary from 2018-20 and become a free agent.
"It's something that I put aside going into the season," Tanaka said Wednesday through a translator. "Can't be really thinking about that while you go through the season, really focus on this season and when the time comes after the season, then I'll probably have a chance to think about that more."
Tanaka arrived at the Yankees' minor league complex Monday for pre-spring training workouts. The 28-year-old right-hander threw off a bullpen mound Wednesday.
"Felt better than I thought I would be," Tanaka said. "I went out there and I think I was able to throw with some force. Felt good about where I'm at now. I feel that I'm a little bit ahead of schedule compared to last year."
Tanaka was a concern at the start of spring training last year after arthroscopic surgery in October 2015 to remove a bone spur from his throwing elbow. He went 14-4 with a 3.07 ERA in 31 starts.
Tanaka had planned to pitch for Japan in the World Baseball Classic next month but decided not to participate.
"I had to take into consideration a lot of things," he said. "It was more of I was able to go through a whole season finally last year, and I understand what the team is looking for from me."
Tanaka is 39-16 with a 3.12 ERA over 75 starts in three seasons with the Yankees. He was limited to 44 starts over his first two seasons due to injuries.
Yankees' Masahiro Tanaka focused on season, not opt-out clause