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Yanks' Tanaka set to pitch Saturday

TAMPA — RHP Masahiro Tanaka is scheduled to make his Yankees debut Saturday.

Manager Joe Girardi made the announcement Tuesday after New York beat Florida State 8-3.

Tanaka, 25, 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 the Japan Series title.

Tanaka and RHP Hiroki Kuorda will follow LHP CC Sabathia in Saturday's game against Philadelphia at Steinbrenner Field. Girardi said all three starters would begin an inning.

"That's a big thing for them, to come into a clean inning," Girardi said. "That's the way (pitching coach) Larry (Rothschild) drew it up."

Tanaka has impressed his catchers and teammates who have faced him in two live batting practice sessions. He still needs to get acclimated to pitching every five days rather than once a week, as he did in Japan.

"There are still adjustments he has to make," Girardi said.

Phils: Hamels to throw

CLEARWATER — LHP Cole Hamels is slated to throw off a mound today for the first time this spring training, still unsure how much of April he will miss.

The Phillies starter, battling sore biceps since November, said two weeks ago that he wouldn't be ready by opening day.

"I feel really good," Hamels said. "I've made tremendous progress."

Hamels, 30, was 2-11 with a 4.58 ERA in the first three months of last season then went 6-3, 2.68 the rest of the way. He continued to throw in October but felt soreness in his arm when he restarted his offseason throwing program in mid November. Hamels was told to stop his weightlifting program, too.

He was cleared to resume lifting last week.

"It was difficult," Hamels said. "Every offseason I lifted all year, five days a week. So to not be able to do it, you lose a lot, with the balance of trying to do everything to your body."

Jays: Final tuneup

DUNEDIN — The Blue Jays got an early look at a couple of starting candidates in a game situation and liked what they saw.

Toronto finished preparing for the Grapefruit League season by playing a five-inning intrasquad game Tuesday afternoon. Manager John Gibbons divided his team into two groups with 13 position players on each side. Nine pitchers were used, with RHPs Drew Hutchison and Marcus Stroman getting one-inning starts.

Stroman, 22, one of the team's top prospects, hasn't pitched above Double-A New Hampshire. Hutchison, 23, hasn't pitched in the majors since July 2012 but appears to be fully recovered from Tommy John surgery.

"They all threw the ball really well," Gibbons said. "But Stroman, yeah, he and Hutch coming out of the gates. They're both competing, I thought they both looked great. I thought we played a good baseball game — crisp, good PFP (pitchers' fielding practice), a lot of good things."

Yanks' Tanaka set to pitch Saturday 02/25/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 25, 2014 9:05pm]

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