Tanaka could pitch 3rd or 4th game of season - NBC Sports

Tanaka could pitch 3rd or 4th game of season
APWF
New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka stands in the dugout with teammates before an exhibition baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
February 28, 2014, 12:55 pm

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) Masahiro Tanaka could make his first regular-season start in the New York Yankees' third or fourth game.

The Yankees complete a three-series at Houston on April 3, then have a day off before a three-game set at Toronto. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Friday "I think that's pretty safe to say" the Japanese right-hander will start game three or four.

Tanaka is to make his first spring training appearance Saturday against Philadelphia at Steinbrenner Tanaka and fellow Japanese right-hander and Hiroki Kuroda are to follow starter CC Sabathia. Each is expected to throw two innings or about 35 pitches.

"I understand there's going to be a lot of attention on the results, the numbers of how I do out there," Tanaka said through an interpreter. "But for me, I'm not looking at it at all. I just wanted to go out there and pitch my style. I just want to see how the batters react."

Tanaka signed a $155 million, seven-year contract in January. He was 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA last year while leading the Rakuten Golden Eagles to their first Japan Series title.

NOTES: Closer David Robertson threw 22 pitches in his second batting practice session. ... Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson arrived at camp, where he is a spring training instructor.

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