Masahiro Tanaka was on the mound for the New York Yankees in Clearwater to take on the Philadelphia Phillies as he was trying to secure his spot on Opening Day.
As it was raining all across the greater Tampa Bay area the game was delayed past it’s original 1:05 p.m. start. They would start the game once it let up a little, however, it was still coming down hard enough to show in the first inning. Brett Oberholtzer was on the mound for the Phillies and he’d face what was mostly the Yankees’ minor league lineup aside from Brian McCann and Aaron Hicks. Dustin Ackley and Carlos Corporan (who’s still competing with Austin Romine for the backup catching spot) were also in the lineup today.
The Yankees got off to a nice start with the heavy rain coming down. Ronald Torreyes drove in Hicks (after his double) with a single, that would be Torreyes’ second RBI of the spring (.303 BA). After a Corporan single, Dustin Ackley would send a bullet to the yard in center field for a three-run shot. Ackley has a .308 average this spring with four RBIs. He’s also looked solid at first base and will be a very interesting utility guy as he heads into his first full season with the Yankees.
Come the fourth inning, Cesar Puello (who has had a decent Spring campaign) started a three-run fourth inning with a single, driving in Pete Kozma. With Puello on, third base prospect Miguel Andujar destroyed a pitch from Oberholtzer to make it 7-1. Andujar has noticeable power and is still with the team as they don’t have many third base prospects to choose from. It’s good to get a look at a position with fewer players right now to see exactly what’s there. Andujar hit eight home runs for the Tampa Yankees last season and drove in 57 RBIs.
As for Tanaka he’d give up seven hits, but only one run would come across. The rain did seem to bother him throughout the game, but he’d maintain his control and look good considering the circumstances. Manager Joe Girardi said publicly that this start would likely be the deciding factor in Tanaka starting on Opening Day. It would’ve been tricky should Tanaka have struggled to decipher what Girardi would do with rain being a huge factor. Going off of his four innings I’d say his Opening Day spot is safe, even if it’s a small sample size (for the day).
Four innings would be all Tanaka got today. As the fifth inning was about to start, the game was delayed once again, soon after the Tampa squad’s game was as well, due to lightning. Both games would come to an end as the weather wouldn’t let up. CC Sabathia looked good in Tampa today and it appears he’ll keep his spot in the rotation. As for Tanaka it looks like he’ll stay as the opening Day starter.
Tomorrow the Yankees take on the Atlanta Braves in Champion Stadium. Ivan Nova is set to start as this could possibly be his last chance to take the last spot in the rotation.