Friday, February 23, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Yankees name Tanaka opening day starter

TAMPA — Masahiro Tanaka will be the Yankees' opening day starter Monday against the Astros, manager Joe Girardi said Thursday.

"Very happy to be given the position," Tanaka said through an interpreter.

Tanaka rebounded from a slow spring training start by allowing one run over four innings Tuesday against Philadelphia. He had a procedure in October to remove a bone spur from his throwing elbow.

"He felt good (Thursday)," Girardi said. "He's confident he's ready to go."

The rest of the rotation: Michael Pineda, Nathan Eovaldi and Luis Severino. In Thursday's 9-1 split-squad loss to the Cardinals in Tampa, Pineda gave up six runs and seven hits over five innings. Eovaldi is scheduled to start today in Miami against the Marlins, his fourth spring start.

Girardi said there is no decision on whether CC Sabathia or Ivan Nova will be the fifth starter.

"There's a lot to think about," Girardi said. "When you have tough decisions, it doesn't always mean it's permanent. You have to prove yourself."

Girardi said the choice will be made in the next couple of days and the loser of fifth starter competition will start the season as a reliever.

"Just have to wait and see," Sabathia said. "It's up to them. I'm ready to go."

In other roster new, Austin Romine will be the backup catcher and Luis Cessa and Johnny Barbato won spots in the bullpen.

SORRY, JACKIE: Philadelphia is officially apologizing to Jackie Robinson for the racism he faced there. The City Council passed a resolution naming April 15 as a day to honor Robinson's achievements and to apologize for his mistreatment while visiting Philadelphia in 1947. April 15 is the day Robinson became the first black player in Major League Baseball, playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers. In Philadelphia, Robinson was refused service by a hotel and taunted by Phillies players and manager Ben Chapman.

Braves: Right-hander John Gant allowed three runs in three innings in a loss to the Orioles. Manager Fredi Gonzalez said Gant has a good shot at winning the long relief role.

BREWERS: Outfielder Rymer Liriano will begin the season on the 15-day disabled list as he recovers from getting hit in the face by a pitch on March 20.

CARDINALS: Signed to help at shortstop after an injury to Jhonny Peralta, Ruben Tejada will open the season on the disabled list with a left quadriceps strain. Jeremy Hazelbaker, who has played 751 games in the minors and none in the majors, will stay with the team to fill in for Tejada.

Orioles: Right-hander Mike Wright will be the fourth starter.

REDS: First baseman Joey Votto walked and singled in a loss to the Indians, finishing spring training by reaching base in 18 of 20 games and hitting safely in 14.

ROCKIES: Nolan Arenado had his major league-high 31st hit of spring training in a victory over the Diamondbacks. He had 16 extra-base hit in 20 games and was 31-for-55 (.564).

TIGERS: Right-hander Justin Verlander gave up a home run during a minor-league game to his younger brother Ben, a Detroit outfielder. "One epic swing for him," Justin said. "I'm sure I'm going to be hearing about it. Probably glad I'm getting out of town." Ben, 24, added: "I got in there and I was telling myself to look for a first-pitch fastball, and the rest is history, I guess."

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