It's been a steady process getting Masahiro Tanaka accustomed to pitching in the United States and with his new teammates on the New York Yankees. On Saturday, he'll get his first chance to pitch against live competition.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi announced on Tuesday that the 25-year-old Japanese starter will make his debut in pinstripes this Saturday in a spring training game when the Yankees play against the Philadelphia Phillies. Girardi said that Tanaka won't start the game, but he will pitch an inning of work in the game, CC Sabathia will make the start against the team that they defeated in the 2009 World Series and Hiroki Kuroda will also pitch an inning in the game as well.
“We’re going to space them out,’’ manager Joe Girardi said of his top three starters. “Tanaka’s starts will be spaced out a little more in spring training. He’ll be on five days sometimes and with some off days it gets kind of tricky. It’s the way [pitching coach] Larry [Rothschild] drew it up.’’
It will be the first time that Tanaka faces off against MLB competition since signing his seven-year, $155 million deal with the Yankees and all eyes from all over the world will be watching to see how he fares, even if it is for only one inning and if it is only in spring training; the baseball world still wants to see how the Japanese superstar handles pitching against American hitters.
Derek Jeter will make his first appearance for the Yankees on Thursday against the Pittsburgh Pirates since August of 2013. The other three newest Yankees the team acquired in free agency; Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran, will also all make their Yankee debuts in Thursday's game against the Pirates as well.
Photo credit: Bryan Hoch
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