Despite a rain delay of an hour and a half in Clearwater, FL, the New York Yankees and the Philadelphia Phillies squared off in a Spring Training game earlier and the spotlight was on perhaps the biggest free-agent signing this offseason, Japanese hurler Masahiro Tanaka.
Tanaka was getting ahead on hitters early, throwing two scoreless innings and then giving up a home run in the third to end his day after three frames. It was a great sign of what Tanaka has in store for New York, as he continues to fool hitters with his split-fingered fastball, which looks to be his most important weapon against MLB opponents all season Tanaka finished with a stat line of three innings pitched while giving up two hits and one run, with one strikeout and no walks.
It is difficult to forecast at this point exactly how Tanaka’s game will translate to the AL, but if his performance early on in Spring Training is any indication, the Yankees have found their co-ace to go along with C.C. Sabathia. They desperately need this considering Sabathia has carried a heavy load over the course of the last few seasons.