Yankees tab Masahiro Tanaka for Opening Day start

Yankees manager Joe Girardi announced Friday starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka will start Opening Day (April 6) against the Blue Jays. It will be his first Opening Day start.

Girardi added Tanaka will be followed in the rotation by Michael Pineda, CC Sabathia and Nathan Eovaldi. Sabathia has started the last six openers for New York.

“We feel that’s the way it works the best. We feel that gives everybody a chance to be pretty ready,” Girardi said, per the New York Post. “Tanaka will be on a little bit of a pitch count the first time. We just like the way it works for our guys.”

The Yankees have not yet officially announced a fifth starter, but general manager Brian Cashman indicated earlier this week Adam Warren is the favorite to land the final spot in the rotation.

Tanaka and Sabathia were considered the top two candidates to start Opening Day. However, Girardi held off in making the decision as he wanted to see how both pitchers responded this spring coming off injury-plagued campaigns in 2014. While Sabathia is coming off knee surgery, Tanaka did not undergo surgery last season for a partially torn UCL. Although, he did miss a few months due to the elbow injury.

Tanaka is 1-1 with a 1.74 ERA in three spring starts. He also has 12 strikeouts to just one walk in 10 1/3 innings.

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