Saturday afternoon brought upon one of the most anticipated debuts of the 2014 Major League Baseball spring training season as New York Yankees prized-free agent pitcher, Masahiro Tanaka, took to the mound for the first time in the United States against the Philadelphia Phillies. And it was a successful to say the least.
After C.C. Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda had their goes, it was time for Tanaka to come in in the fifth inning and show off his stuff for the first time, and all things considered, he delivered.
The former Japanese standout threw two scoreless innings and struck out three batters as he saw action in the fifth and sixth innings. Many in attendance said he wasn’t sharp by any means, but he was effective enough for someone getting in their first pitches of the spring training season, and you would have to think he can only improve as things move on in March here.
At this point, no one is really questioning whether or not Tanaka will be in the rotation, that gigantic contract validates this, but rather it’s looking to see where he fits into the mix.
His progression throughout this spring will be that indicator.