Masahiro Tanaka‘s Major League debut came in the fifth inning of today’s 4-0 victory against the Phillies, and it was safe to say, Tanaka was nervous about facing Major League hitting for the first time in his career.
“I was nervous, but it was a really good nervous,” Tanaka said through an interpreter. “It’s the first time that the batters faced me. It’ll probably be a little bit different the next time around.
“Everything is new to me, so for today, I was just trying to locate my pitches where the catcher was holding his glove.”
Although Tanaka was nervous, it didn’t stop him from giving the fans a taste of what’s to come from him; pitching two scoreless innings of two hit ball. The splitter and fastball were his best pitches while his breaking pitches needed a little more work. Still, it was a great day for a kid who had the entire world’s eyes on him; the game was broadcast on three different stations in Japan, on MLB Network and the YES Network.
He relieved Hiroki Kuroda, who was the most impressive of the three; pitching two scoreless innings with just 17 pitches. Kuroda had to go back to the bullpen after his start and throw 18 more pitches to end the day with 35.
CC Sabathia started the game for the Yankees, pitching two innings of scoreless ball while giving up two hits. Sabathia’s start was a bit of a concern with him topping out at 88 MPH on one of his fastballs. However, Sabathia’s confident his velocity will go up a little bit as the Spring goes on. Before the game, Sabathia referenced Andy Pettitte, who didn’t throw overly hard either, yet Pettitte was still able to put hitters away. Sabathia told the media location is key, something he plans to work on during the remainder of Spring.
Derek Jeter went 0-for-2 with a walk, but he looked very smooth on the field; he turned a double play and took control of two ground balls hit in his direction.
Ichiro Suzuki lined a single off Phillies third basemen Cody Asche‘s glove, allowing Francisco Cervelli to score the first run in the fourth. Cervelli had an RBI single in the fifth inning against Kevin Munson and Adonis Garcia hit a two-run single off of Jeremy Horst in the seventh inning to complete the scoring.
– Carlos Beltran and Jacoby Ellsbury will make the trip to Dunedin to face the Toronto Blue Jays. Alfonso Soriano was slated to go with the Yankees but was ultimately scratched. Soriano and Girardi both feel Soriano isn’t feeling well enough to play as Soriano fights some lingering flu symptoms. First pitch will be at 1:05 p.m. and Vidal Nuno will get the start for the Yankees. The game will broadcast on MLB.TV and will have a delayed broadcast on the MLB Network.