Sunday, March 2, 2014

Masahiro Tanaka's spring training debut went off without a hitch yesterday in Tampa. The $175 million Japanese right-hander was finally able to face live hitters for the first time this spring, and the Philadelphia Phillies was the lucky team to face him.

Tanaka threw the ball pretty well -- especially the famous splitters we've heard so much about, which he used to strikeout Ben Revere to open the 6th inning. He tossed two scoreless innings in the 5th and 6th, giving up a pair of single, while striking out three.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi wasn't ready to say after the game when Tanaka would make his next spring start, but you can bet that it'll be later in the week, or over the weekend.

Today the Yankees get on the bus and travel to Dunedin for a 1:05pm EST matchup with the Toronto Blue Jays, who 23 games out of first place in the AL East last season after making a load of roster changing moves that they thought would get them back to the playoffs.

Vidal Nuno will be on the mound for the Yankees, making his second start of the spring after throwing two scoreless innings against Florida State University on Tuesday.

Nuno looked sharp, throwing strikes right out of the gate, striking out two in the first inning. He didn't walk anyone, and only gave up an infield single in the 1st inning.

He's the real darkhorse candidate in the four-man fifth starter race that includes David Phelps, Adam Warren and Michael Pineda. He showed his stuff pretty well in a few appearances with the Yankees last season, and now gets a chance to give the coaches a better look at his stuff this spring.

I still believe that Michael Pineda is the front-runner to win the last spot in the rotation, given the Yankees know both Phelps and Warren are capable of pitching out of the bullpen, but don't know is Pineda would handle it well. But don't count out Nuno for the job, either.

Today's lineup vs Blue Jays:

Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran will be back in the lineup today. Ellsbury went hitless in his last game on Friday after getting on-base three times in his spring debut Wednesday. Beltran is still looking for his first hit in a Yankees uniform. He's gone hitless in both of his appearances so far.

Gary Sanchez (C), Adonis Garcia (1B), Corban Joseph (2B), Yangervis Solarte (SS), Jose Pirela (3B), Zealous Wheeler (LF), Richardson (CF), and Maruszak (RF) will be the second string players today.

Today's game will not be broadcasted on YES, by you'll be able to watch on MLB.TV through the Blue Jays' TV network. If you can't watch on TV, you can follow @GavinEwbank (button below) on twitter for updates.


Gavin Ewbank is the Lead Writer of Yanks Beat Blog


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