Saturday, March 1, 2014

Since his signing in mid-January, Yankees have have been dying to see Masahiro Tanaka get on the mound and face live hitters. We've heard a lot of good things about him so far this spring, but we're finally going to see for ourselves.

Tanaka will be making his Yankees debut today against the Philadelphia Phillies today at George M. Steinbrenner Field.

CC Sabathia will be starting the game for the Yankees, and manager Joe Girardi said that he hopes to get Tanaka into the game in the 5th inning.

Hiroki Kuroda will also get into the game for his first appearance of the spring, because that's the way pitching coach Larry Rothschild drew it up.

"I'm curious to see how he does," Girardi said. "Hopefully he keeps his emotions in check, and that's what you worry about a little bit, guys trying to do too much. Players a lot of times want to validate contracts."

Tanaka said that he won't be too worried about the results of his outing today.

“I'm curious to see how he does,” Girardi said. “His first outing, hopefully he keeps his emotions in check and that’s what you worry about a little bit, trying to do too much. Players a lot of times want to try to validate contracts. I've always said, (for) Japanese-born players I think there’s a certain amount of pride that they feel that they're pitching for their whole country sometimes and that can be a little much.”

I feel that since we found out Tanaka was pitching in this game, it's been under-the-radar that Sabathia is taking the mound for the first time his his awful 2013 season ended with a hamstring strain in mid-September.

Sabathia is expected to regain his form as the ace of the Yankees' staff after going through the terrible season that he had last year.

I think that the offseason elbow surgery he underwent before the start of last season had a lot to do with his poor pitching. Not being able to throw all winter like he was able to do this year also didn't help. Not to mention, he lost a lot of weight, and that is always a good thing.

Lastly, Derek Jeter will be back in the lineup for today's game after making his spring debut on Wednesday against the Pirates. He played five innings at shortstop and went 0-for-2 at the plate.

Jeter looked good running the bases, and came out of the game without any problems in his right ankle.

Girardi said that Jeter will be getting the same experience as Mariano Rivera had last spring, meaning he won't be getting on the bus to travel with the team. He'll play almost all of his games at home, and will be in the lineup as much as he can.

“We’ll keep him on an every-other-day schedule probably for a little bit here, and I'll just continue to communicate with him," Girardi said. “And as we go along, I'll see. If he says he wants to go back-to-back and we think it’s a good idea, we'll do it. But there were no issues today and we need to keep it that way."

Today's lineup vs Phillies:

Brett Gardner LF
Derek Jeter SS
Brian McCann DH
Brian Roberts 2B
Francisco Cervelli C
Kelly Johnson 3B
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Corban Joseph 1B
Mason Williams CF


Gavin Ewbank is the Lead Writer of Yanks Beat Blog


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