Masahiro Tanaka made his first start of the spring and picked up right where the rest of the Yankees starters left off, throwing two scoreless innings.
Despite throwing his first pitch of the spring above the head of Detroit Tigers’ second baseman Ian Kinsler, Tanaka settled in and looked strong. He struck out two batters and produced four ground balls on 25 pitches. Of the 25, 16 were strikes. It is an encouraging sign for the Yankees’ opening day starter.
Pitching coach Larry Rothschild said of Tanaka’s performance, “he’s not a velocity guy. He’s a pitcher and he knows what to do when he’s got the ball in his hands.”
Last season, Tanaka went 14-4 with a 3.07 earned run average in 31 starts. With only three spots in the rotation currently occupied, the Yankees need Tanaka to remain healthy this spring as they will rely on him to be their ace.