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Tanaka Time in the Bronx

Masahiro Tanaka

Masahiro Tanaka will cross off the final American League opponent off his list tonight as the Yankees host the Royals in the second game of a four-game set at Yankee Stadium. The defending World Series champions are the only team that Tanaka has not faced in his three-year big league career.

Tanaka is one of four pitchers in the Majors to allow two earned runs or fewer in each of their first six starts. Some runs would be very welcome for the right-hander: despite his terrific beginning to the season, he’s just got one victory because the Yanks have averaged 2.5 runs per game in his outings.

“The good thing is, we’re not talking about that (elbow ligament),” manager Joe Girardi said. “This will be a little bit of a test, though, because we’re into a lot of days in a row where he’s going to be on every fifth day, but he’s seemed to handle it. He feels good, and he’s pitching extremely well. We just need to keep it there.”

This is the first big league start for Ben Gamel, who is batting ninth and playing right field.



Mark Teixeira is the latest star player to appear on the team’s injury report, as the switch-hitter could miss the next two games as he deals with neck spasms, manager Joe Girardi said on Tuesday.

Teixeira is just 1-for-15 on the Yankees’ current homestand after going hitless in New York’s 6-3 victory over the Royals on Monday, and Girardi said that he has been battling the issue for some time. Teixeira did not take pre-game batting practice on Tuesday as he received treatment.

He is batting .202 (21-for-104) with three homers, 11 RBIs and 19 walks in 30 games.

“Your neck is fairly important in a swing, because you have to be able to turn your head and sometimes players can’t work the way they want to work because they’re dealing with some stuff,” Girardi said. “I think he’s been patient. I don’t think he’s gotten fully on track this year but I think he will.”

The injury is the latest in a rash that has seen Jacoby Ellsbury not starting for a fourth straight game due to tightness in his right hip, sustained on an aggressive turn around third base.

If Ellsbury is not able to resume sprinting at full speed by the end of the Kansas City series, Girardi said that Ellsbury could be placed on the disabled list retroactively.

The Yankees also remain optimistic that Alex Rodriguez (strained right hamstring) can return from his 15-day disabled list stint in the minimum amount of time. Rodriguez has run on a treadmill but not yet on grass.


Take away Tanaka’s 2.29 ERA, and the rest of the Yankees rotation has posted a 5.03 ERA (76 ER, 136 IP) so far this season.

With his two homers Monday, Carlos Beltran is now just two homers shy of 400 for his career. Teixeira is at 397 career homers. The only switch-hitters to have reached 400 career homers are Mickey Mantle (536), Eddie Murray (504), and Chipper Jones (468).


1936: Joe DiMaggio hits his first Major League homer (off George Turbeville) in the Yankees’ 7-2 victory over the Philadelphia A’s.

A-Rod carrying the Yankees’ lineup

Yankees Rays BaseballComing off last night’s two-homer, four-RBI performance, Alex Rodriguez has been promoted to the No. 3 spot in the Yankees lineup as they play the middle game of a three-game set tonight at Tropicana Field.

Masahiro Tanaka (1-1, 7.00 ERA) is on the mound for New York, with right-hander Jake Odorizzi (2-0, 0.61 ERA) getting the call for Tampa Bay. The game will be televised on Fox Sports 1 and can be heard on WFAN.

Here are the quick hits you need to know:

  • Here’s a great stat that showcases just how good A-Rod’s first 10 games have been: He is batting .344 (11-for-32 AB) with four homers and 11 RBIs. The rest of the Yankees are hitting a combined .209 (67-for-320).
  • Rodriguez’s response: “Let’s see if you can do this for six months. Anyone can do it for 10 games. Let’s just see what happens.”
  • Brett Gardner (right wrist) returns to the lineup to make his first start since Monday. Joe Girardi said that he’ll watch Gardner closely on check-swings and swings and misses, but Gardner would have batted last night if his spot had come up. 
  • Carlos Beltran is out of the lineup with chest congestion, and Joe Girardi isn’t sure if Beltran will be available Sunday either. Apparently there has been a bad cold going around the clubhouse; first-base coach Tony Pena has gotten hit worse than anyone. I’m buying some Emergen-C on my way back to the hotel tonight.
  • Reverse split alert: Because Odorizzi is a rare right-hander who is tougher on left-handed hitters, Didi Gregorius is getting the night off. Gregorio Petit is making the start at second base, with Stephen Drew handling the duties at shortstop. Chris Young takes over in right field.
  • Brian McCann is batting .500 (5-for-10) with two homers lifetime vs. Odorizzi.
  • Chris Capuano was in the clubhouse this afternoon and will throw a 45-pitch bullpen session tomorrow. His target date is probably late May, with Ivan Nova right behind him. Girardi confirmed that the Yankees plan to stretch Capuano and Nova out as starters.
  • The Yankees came into today tied with the Orioles for the most homers in the Majors this season, with 16.
  • A-Rod thought it was hilarious that people on social media keep talking about the white gunk on top of his helmet. It’s just rosin, he says.
  • We hardly knew you, Matt Tracy. He was claimed off waivers by the Miami Marlins this afternoon. In addition, Joel De La Cruz was outrighted off the Major League roster and onto the roster of Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Here are the lineups… first pitch at 7:10 p.m. ET:

Masahiro TanakaYANKEES (4-6)
Jacoby Ellsbury cf
Brett Gardner lf
Alex Rodriguez dh
Mark Teixeira 1b
Brian McCann c
Chris Young rf
Chase Headley 3b
Stephen Drew ss
Gregorio Petit 2b

Masahiro Tanaka rhp

RAYS (6-5)
David DeJesus dh
Stephen Souza Jr. rf
Asdrubal Cabrera ss
Evan Longoria 3b
Desmond Jennings cf
Allan Dykstra 1b
Logan Forsythe 2b
Brandon Guyer lf
Rene Rivera c

Jake Odorizzi rhp

Teixeira looks to keep RBI streak going

Mark Teixeira, Chris YoungIt’s Jackie Robinson Day around Major League Baseball, and the Yankees are on the field to wrap up their three-game series with the Orioles tonight here at Camden Yards. Nathan Eovaldi is making his second start for New York. Right-hander Bud Norris, who beat the Yanks in all four starts against them last year, has the ball for Baltimore.

Here are the quick hits from the Yankees’ clubhouse:

  • Mark Teixeira has at least one hit and one RBI in each of his last five games. That’s his longest such streak since 2011 (six games, May 24-30).
  • That final bullpen spot rotated once more, as the Yankees recalled right-hander Branden Pinder from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Right-hander Joel De La Cruz was in Baltimore for two days and didn’t get into a game, though at least he got a suit out of the deal.
  • Brett Gardner said that his right wrist feels better, and though he may have a precautionary MRI tomorrow in Tampa, Gardner expects to be in the lineup on Friday when the Yanks open a three-game series with the Rays. Gardner could pinch-run or play defense tonight.
  • Minor League right-hander Wilking Rodriguez was hit with an 80-game suspension for violation of the drug policy. Rodriguez was in Spring Training with the big club.
  • Ivan Nova threw 20 pitches of live batting practice yesterday in Tampa and is scheduled to do so again on Friday. Chris Capuano is scheduled to throw live batting practice tomorrow. It is possible that the Yankees could have both pitchers back in early June; Girardi said that Capuano would be “slightly ahead” of Nova.
  • Brendan Ryan will accompany the team to Tampa and can start some baseball activities there.

Here are the lineups:

Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Chase Headley 3B
Carlos Beltran RF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Brian McCann C
Alex Rodriguez DH
Stephen Drew 2B
Chris Young LF
Didi Gregorius SS

RHP Nathan Eovaldi (0-0, 5.06)


Alejandro De Aza RF
Everth Cabrera SS
Adam Jones CF
Travis Snider DH
Chris Davis 1B
Manny Machado 3B
Caleb Joseph C
David Lough LF
Jonathan Schoop 2B

RHP Bud Norris (0-1, 24.00)

Game 8: Yankees at Orioles

CC SabathiaGood evening from Camden Yards in Baltimore, where the Yankees will go for their third straight victory as they play the middle game of three with the Orioles. Left-hander CC Sabathia (0-1, 6.35) makes his second start of the year for the Yankees, with right-hander Miguel Gonzalez (0-1, 1.59) on the hill for the O’s. The weather is overcast, cool and wet, but we should play.

This has been a tough office to work in for Sabathia, who pitched better than his line indicated on April 9. Since the start of 2012, Sabathia is 2-4 with a 5.13 ERA (52.2 IP, 30 ER) in eight starts against the Orioles, and he is winless at Camden Yards over that span.

Here’s what you need to know from the Yankees clubhouse:

  • Brett Gardner is unlikely to be in the lineup until Friday, as he is resting his sore right wrist. The Yankees may be able to use him as a pinch-runner or to play defense, but Gardner said that he probably can’t swing a bat.
  • Alex Rodriguez gets his first night off of the season, having played the field last night. Surely there is temptation to keep A-Rod going, as he has exceeded expectations in the season’s first week, but there’s a long road ahead and the Yanks are trying to be mindful of that.
  • Andrew Miller has two saves and Dellin Betances has none, but the Yankees still say they are operating without a set closer. In fact, with Miller having recorded five outs last night, it’s possible the call would go to Betances tonight in a save situation.
  • No roster move today! Joel De La Cruz didn’t pitch and thus gets to hang around for a second day, which is more than you could say for Matt Tracy and Kyle Davies. Those two names could be a real problem on an end-of-season Sporcle quiz.
  • Girardi on Mark Teixeira: “His at-bats have been good, He’s productive, he’s stayed in the strike zone, he’s hit some home runs, when we need a run driven in he’s provided it. That’s why he’s there.”
  • Girardi on Carlos Beltran: “It’s been somewhat of a struggle so far. It’s not a lot of at-bats. There’s a lot of hitters that are in the position that he’s in going into the second week of the season. You don’t make too much of it. Obviously we know he’s a much better hitter than he’s shown.”
  • Today marks the 60th anniversary of Elston Howard becoming the Yankees’ first African-America player.

Here are the lineups:

Jacoby Ellsbury cf
Chase Headley 3b
Carlos Beltran rf
Mark Teixeira 1b
Brian McCann c
Garrett Jones dh
Chris Young lf
Stephen Drew 2b
Didi Gregorius ss

CC Sabathia lhp

Everth Cabrera ss
Manny Machado 3b
Adam Jones cf
Steve Pearce 1b
Delmon Young rf
Chris Davis dh
Jonathan Schoop 2b
Caleb Joseph c
Alejandro De Aza lf

Miguel Gonzalez rhp

Game 7: Yankees at Orioles

Michael PinedaHello from Oriole Park at Camden Yards, where the Yankees open a three-game series against the Orioles tonight. This kicks off a stretch that sees the Yankees play 15 of their next 25 games away from the Bronx, and they’ll look to keep the good vibes rolling from last night’s 14-4 pounding of the Red Sox by handing the ball to right-hander Michael Pineda.

“You watch him, he competes,” manager Joe Girardi said. “He’s able to get the big strikeout when he needs it. He keeps his pitch count down, he attacks the zone with three pitches, holds the runners. He does a good job.”

The O’s counter with left-hander Wei-Yin Chen, and first pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. ET. The Yanks got to town at about 3 a.m. ET this morning following the Sunday night ESPN game, so those hotel blackout shades surely came in handy.

Here’s what you need to know from the Yankees’ clubhouse:

  • A-Rod is playing third base for the first time this season as Joe Girardi wants to give Chase Headley a day off. Headley “could use it” after Friday’s 19-inning game and then coming right back to play another two games, Girardi said. Basically, the Yankees just want A-Rod to catch the balls he can get to, but they understand that they’re losing some range in that swap.
  • The crowd reaction was largely positive for A-Rod in New York, but that’s expected to change as the Yankees visit Baltimore, Tampa Bay and Detroit on this trip. It’s expected to be similar to what Rodriguez has heard in past years; he mentioned yesterday that nothing could be more vicious than what he heard after signing the massive $252 million deal with the Rangers.
  • The Yankees lead the Majors with nine errors through six games. Girardi called it “definitely puzzling,” considering this is a team for whom run prevention was supposed to be a strength.
  • Girardi’s reaction to Barry Bonds’ comments, in which he said A-Rod’s 660th homer should be celebrated: “I hope it happens this month. I think we all hope that. I hope he hits, what does he needs, five? I hope he hits six this month. It’d be great.”
  • Another day, another long reliever. Today it’s right-hander Joel De La Cruz, who has been summoned from Double-A Trenton. He replaces right-hander Kyle Davies, who replaced left-hander Matt Tracy, who replaced left-hander Chasen Shreve. That all happened in the last four days.
  • Esmil Rogers could be available tomorrow, but more likely Wednesday.
  • Jose Pirela (concussion) will begin playing in Extended Spring Training games next week. Brendan Ryan (calf strain) could travel with the team to Tampa on Thursday and stay there.

Here are the lineups:

Jacoby Ellsbury cf
Brett Gardner lf
Carlos Beltran dh
Mark Teixeira 1b
Alex Rodriguez 3b
Chris Young rf
John Ryan Murphy c
Didi Gregorius ss
Gregorio Petit 2b

Michael Pineda rhp (0-0, 3.00)

Alejandro De Aza lf
Steve Pearce rf
Chris Davis 1b
Adam Jones cf
Travis Snider dh
Manny Machado 3b
Jonathan Schoop 2b
Everth Cabrera ss
Caleb Joseph c

Wei-Yin Chen lhp (0-0, 6.23)

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