Tanaka struggles in latest outing


Masahiro Tanaka was solid in his first three spring training starts. The right-hander’s latest outing for the New York Yankees didn’t go nearly as well.

Tanaka allowed seven runs and the Washington Nationals rolled to a 13-0 win Wednesday night.

Tanaka had given up only seven hits and two earned runs entering the game, but allowed a solo home run to Stephen Drew and a two-run homer to Wilson Ramos during a six-run third inning. He had thrown a total of seven innings in his previous three starts, but lasted four frames Wednesday, giving up nine hits while striking out three.

“He threw a few good splits, but his stuff just wasn’t sharp,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.

Given Tanaka has only one more spring training start before the regular season —where he is likely to be New York’s opening day pitcher — Girardi said Wednesday’s outing was a little bit of a concern.

“You want to get it going,” Girardi said. “His next start is obviously really important because you want players to feel good about themselves going into the season.

“He’s got a big week of work ahead of him.”

Speaking through an interpreter, Tanaka said his pitches were flat and he wasn’t able to keep them down in the zone against a stacked Nationals lineup.

“Obviously, the results are not there,” Tanaka said. “I think the good part is the body is healthy. I feel good. Other than that, I need to try to get some more results.”

Washington’s Stephen Strasburg had his best outing of the spring, tossing five scoreless innings. He allowed six hits, but struck out nine while throwing just 68 pitches.

“It’s progress,” Strasburg said. “The changeup was a lot better today. I feel like I was finishing the pitch better and not yanking it as many times. My curveball felt good and fastball command, always going to work on that.”

Anthony Rendon went 3-for 3-with a pair of doubles and an RBI for the Nationals.