Friday, March 7, 2014

Tonight in Tampa, Hiroki Kuroda will take the mound for the Yankees to start the game, but he won't be the headline as far as pitcher go.

For the first time in almost two years, Michael Pineda will step on the mound in a game for the Yankees as tonight is finally the night that he makes his spring debut, and facing a live major league opponent for the first time since 2012.

The Yankees have been moving Pineda along slowly this spring, compared to other pitchers, because of the shoulder surgery that he is still coming back from. And through his bullpens and simulated games, teammates and coaches have been saying good thing about Pineda and the way he is throwing the ball.

It'll be tough to tell until we seen him in actual games, like tonight, to know what he really has, but I doubt that those who have seen him throw would lie about how he looks.

Pineda will be one of the pitchers competing for the fifth starter spot in the rotation this season, and assuming he pitches well this spring, I think that there is a good chance he can win the job.

Kuroda is getting the ball to start the game for the first time this spring, but it'll be his second appearance. He made his spring debut last Saturday against the Philadelphia Phillies.

Kuroda looked sharp in that outing against the Phils, throwing 16 pitches in the two scoreless innings he tossed. He pitches looked sharp, but of course, Kuroda said afterwards that there was still work to be done.

Tonight's lineup vs Detroit:

Alfonso Soriano will be making the start in right field for the first time in his career. Jeter is in the lineup and playing shortstop for the second day in-a-row. Tonight's lineup will be a lot like the one that Joe Girardi deployed yesterday, in that it's pretty close to what we'll be seeing on Opening Day.

In the bullpen: David Robertson is slated to pitch right after Kuroda, with Pineda, Shawn Kelley, Matt Thornton and Preston Clairborne following behind -- this is also the group of bullpen arms, minor one or two, we'll see during the season.

No tv or radio for tonight's game, sadly, with Pineda pitching for the first time, but you gave follow on Twitter for update.


Gavin Ewbank is the Lead Writer of Yanks Beat Blog


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