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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.

“NOW BATTING FOR THE YANKEES”

CLUBHOUSE REPORT

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.

STAT SO?

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).

ON THIS DATE

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

Luis Severino seeking a Yankees sweep

Luis Severino

Happy Mother’s Day! The Yankees have a chance to celebrate their first sweep of the season tonight on national television, sending right-hander Luis Severino to the mound against the Red Sox at 8:05 p.m. ET. Boston will counter with knuckleballing right-hander Steven Wright, which will be a challenge for the Yanks hitters.

“It’s hard,” Joe Girardi said. “You’ll see switch hitters hit the opposite because they don’t want to feel like they’re going to messed up. It’s hard. The thing that you try to do is you look for the ball up and try to square one up.”

“NOW BATTING FOR THE YANKEES”

CLUBHOUSE REPORT

Aroldis Chapman

Aroldis Chapman met the media this afternoon and said that he is “super excited” to be installed as the closer, beginning tomorrow against the Royals, now that his 30-game suspension for violating baseball’s domestic violence policy is set to expire. Chapman’s arrival will bump Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller into setup roles.

“I learned a lot from [the suspension],” Chapman said through an interpreter. “Like any human being, we learn every day. It’s just part of life. You keep on learning. The good thing is it’s something that’s behind me now. I want to focus on baseball, being here with my teammates and having the opportunity to contribute and hopefully win.”

There is still no timetable for Jacoby Ellsbury (right hip tightness) to return to the field, but it won’t be on Monday. Girardi said that if Ellsbury isn’t improving in five or six days, the Yankees would consider the disabled list, but Ellsbury is hopeful that he can avoid that.

“I was able to get on the light bike today,” Ellsbury said. “Basically, a bunch of treatment throughout the day. Same as yesterday. It’s made some progress since yesterday, so that’s obviously good news. We’ll see how it feels later on today but we’ll pretty much do as much treatment as we can.”

There’s lots and lots of pink in the Yankees clubhouse. The interlocking ‘NY’ and the numbers on the back of tonight’s pinstriped uniforms are pink, and many players will be wearing pink undershirts and cleats in addition to using the pink bats.

QUOTE TO NOTE

“What do you want me to do? You want me to throw a fit? The goal here is to win. I think if you go around and ask, there’s 25 lockers in here and I think everyone is going to say that. We haven’t gotten off to the start that we want to. I think we’ve played well in the last couple of days, and the goal is to keep that going. Wins are what’s fun at the end of the day. It doesn’t matter if you’re saving games for a last-place team.” — Miller, on yielding the ninth inning to Chapman

Andrew Miller

STAT SO?

Yankees pitchers have a 2.75 ERA (52.1 IP, 16 ER) in six games this month, third-lowest in the Majors. Only Toronto (1.97) and San Diego (2.32) have been better. Bombers hurlers logged a 4.62 ERA in April.

ON THIS DATE

2010: Mark Teixeira became the second player in franchise history to hit three home runs in a single game against the Red Sox, joining Lou Gehrig. Teixeira homered in the fifth, seventh and ninth innings of a 14-3 win at Fenway Park.

Rivalry weekend continues as Yankees host Sox

We’ve got a quick turnaround here at Yankee Stadium following last night’s ninth-inning theatrics, as the Yankees and Red Sox prepare to face off for the second game of this three-game weekend series. Nathan Eovaldi and David Price comprise the pitching matchup, linking back up after they faced off in the Sunday night showdown at Fenway Park.

Eovaldi was knocked around for six runs and 10 hits in five-plus innings that night, but the Yankees put up six runs on Price, who battled to stay in the game for seven innings and got the win in Boston’s 8-7 victory. Clearly the Yankees will be looking for a better performance today from Eovaldi, who is one start removed from taking a no-hitter into the seventh inning at Texas.

“NOW BATTING FOR THE YANKEES”

CLUBHOUSE REPORT

There are no plans to place Jacoby Ellsbury (right hip tightness) on the disabled list, but Joe Girardi said that he expects it to be a couple of days before Ellsbury will play again. It sounds like you can rule him out for the Red Sox series and maybe for Monday vs. Kansas City, also known as Aroldis Chapman Day.

Who’s the Yankees’ closer this afternoon? Great question. They don’t have Dellin Betances, who has appeared in three straight games, and Andrew Miller has to be gassed after his four-out save last night. I suggest the Wheel O’ Closers. Just tryin’ to help.

Speaking of Chapman, he will meet the media tomorrow at 4 p.m. here at Yankee Stadium. He has been pitching in chain-link baseball down in Tampa and I’m sure he can’t wait to face some big league hitters. Girardi reiterated today that Chapman will be the Yankees’ closer.

CC Sabathia spoke and said that his groin strain doesn’t feel quite as severe as his last one, which cost him three weeks. Sabathia is still hopeful that he will only miss the minimum 15 days. Ivan Nova is taking his spot in the rotation in the meantime.

QUOTE TO NOTE

“[Girardi] wouldn’t let me go back out. I just figured I would say something after the game. I wasn’t going to say anything after the game either, but then I came in and it was sore, so I felt like I needed to get some treatment.” – Sabathia, on why he didn’t tell the Yankees immediately about his groin injury. 

STAT SO?

MLB Statcast has some good stuff on Aaron Hicks’ home run last night. The distance was recorded at 446 feet and its exit velocity was 107 mph. It was the longest homer hit by a Yankee this season.

Chase Headley is still looking for his first extra-base hit of 2016, entering play on Saturday with 84 plate appearances. The next-most plate appearances without an extra-base hit this year: the Angels’ Rafael Ortega (56), who was optioned to the Minors on Friday.

ON THIS DATE

1999: Two Japanese-born starting pitchers faced each other for the first time in Major League history, as the Yankees’ Hideki Irabu went up against the Mariners’ Mac Suzuki. Both pitchers worked scorelessly into the fifth inning before the Yankees scored three runs en route to a 10-1 victory.

Andrew Miller wins wild showdown with David Ortiz

Red Sox Yankees Baseball

Cough, cough. Little dusty in here. Been a while, huh? Hello again. We’ll try not to stay away so long again.

Here are some links from our coverage of last night’s game, a 3-2 Yankees victory over the Red Sox in the Bronx.

The victory was the Yankees’ second in three games (wow!) and improved their record to 10-17.

Yanks prevail after Papi milestone, meltdown

Miller escapes ninth-inning jam for 6th save

Known for arm, Hicks makes impact with bat

Ellsbury day to day with strained right hip

CC placed on DL; Nova slides into rotation

A-Rod diagnosed with Grade ‘one-plus’ hamstring strain

2009 Yankee Phil Coke returns to provide bullpen depth

 

Yankees gathering for first full squad workout

Yankees Spring Baseball

The 2016 Yankees will be on the field as a unit for the first time this morning at George M. Steinbrenner Field, with manager Joe Girardi addressing the squad just before they lace up to be on the main diamond at 11:30 a.m.

“It’s good,” Girardi said. “[Wednesday] was a little bit different just because you didn’t really have the entire group on the field or in the room at the same time, but it was good to see them filter in.”

Handshakes and hugs all around, as the gang’s pretty much all here: the only Yankee not to report so far has been infielder Ronald Torreyes, who was delayed with a visa issue. He is expected in camp today.

Hopefully you’ve been keeping up with our Spring Training coverage on yankees.com for the last several weeks – if not, shame on you! Here’s some morning reading to catch you up from the official report date for pitchers and catchers:

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