Tanaka goes scoreless in first game for Yankees

Sat Mar 1, 2014 7:22pm EST
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(Reuters) - The New York Yankees' latest big-money signing Masahiro Tanaka pitched two scoreless innings in his first spring training game for his new team against the Philadelphia Phillies in Tampa, Florida on Saturday.

The 25-year-old Japanese, who possesses a wicked, diving split-finger fastball, allowed two hits and struck out three after being warmly greeted by the fans when he entered in relief for the fifth inning.

"I was nervous, but it was a really good nervous," Tanaka told reporters, speaking through an interpreter. "It's the first time that the batters faced me. It'll probably be a little bit different the next time around.

"Everything is new to me, so for today, I was just trying to locate my pitches where the catcher was holding his glove."

Tanaka allowed a single to Darin Ruf, the first batter he faced, on an 0-2 fastball but recovered to record two flyouts to left field before striking out a swinging Cesar Hernandez on a 3-2 pitch.

In the sixth, the Japanese right-hander struck out Ben Revere on an 0-2 splitter before Ronny Cedeno blooped a single.

Tanaka, who signed a seven-year, $155 million contract with the Yankees in January, then struck out Domonic Brown and got Kelly Dugan to fly to center field.

Manager Joe Girardi was "encouraged" by what he saw.

"It's the place where he's probably at peace, not having to answer questions," Girardi said.   Continued...

Mar 1, 2014; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka (19) looks on during the sixth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports