As the Yankees close out spring training, CC Sabathia and Masahiro Tanaka gave them strong performances to leave the team feeling very good about the top of their rotation. Brett Gardner and Michael Pineda also continue to look strong.
Although Toronto downed the Yanks on Sunday 3-1, Pineda allowed only two earned runs in six innings. He appears ready to be counted on as the fifth man in the rotation. Carlos Beltran and Gardner each went 2-for-3.
After an off day on Monday the Yankees fell to the Phillies 6-0 on Tuesday. The Yanks had plenty of opportunities, but left ten men on base. Gardner went 3-for-3 to make him 5-for-6 in the first two games of the week. This could be a big year for Gardner with his new contract in hand.
On Wednesday the Blue Jays beat the Yankees 10-6 after a disappointing outing by Preston Claiborne. Claiborne gave up four runs and six hits and couldn’t get out of his inning. Claiborne still has not returned to the form that he showed for a long stretch last season. Carlos Beltran went 2-for-3 including a two-run double.
But the Yankees were able to snap the three- game skid on Thursday with a 4-2 win over the Pirates. Sabathia put the finishing touches on his opening day preparation with four strong innings in which he allowed only three hits to earn the win. Ichiro Suzuki, Eduardo Nunez and Zoilo Almonte had three hits each. Nunez played third base, giving manager Joe Girardi another chance to evaluate him there before the start of the season. Almonte went 3-for-3 to raise his spring batting average to .410.
The highlight of the week was the performance of Tanaka on Friday. He allowed only three hits while striking out ten and walking none in six innings as the Yankees shut out the Marlins 3-0. That gave him a record of 2-0 with an ERA of 2.14. Gardner had two stolen bases, one of second and one of third.
So the Yankees are ready for opening day and the start of their re-claiming of the American League East title. To put things into perspective, Pineda was named the fifth starter, Claiborne was optioned, Dellin Betances and Vidal Nuno were added to the bullpen, Brendan Ryan was placed on the disabled list, Eduardo Nunez was optioned to Triple-A Scranton, and Dean Anna along with Yangervis Solarte were added to the 25-man roster to begin the season in Houston on Tuesday. Whew…busy week in Yankeeland!