TAMPA, FLORIDA – Masahiro Tanaka got 10 strikeouts over six scoreless innings as the New York Yankees beat the Miami Marlins 3-0 on Friday.
It was Tanaka’s final spring appearance for the Yankees.
The Japanese right-hander replaced starter Hiroki Kuroda in the fourth inning, allowed three hits and walked none.
“As far as form goes, I was able to put it together. I’d like to continue pitching like I did today,” said Tanaka.
Tanaka, who signed a seven-year, $155 million deal with the Yankees, was especially on point with his trademark splitter and fastball but worked in an array of pitches.
“I didn’t use (the slider) much in Japan,” said Tanaka, who used his slider effectively inside on right-handed batters to get ahead in the count. “This is what I had been working on in practice. I was able to follow the signs (of catcher Francisco Cervelli).”
Tanaka, who went 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles last season, said he is ready to pitch in the five-day rotation. “I have been preparing to be in the best form possible,” he added.
He struck out the first three batters he faced — Garrett Jones, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Derek Dietrich — after replacing Kuroda.
Tanaka is scheduled to make his first regular-season start next Friday in Toronto.
In five exhibition games, Tanaka gave up five runs and struck out 26 over 21 innings on the mound.
“I feel pretty good about him,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “What he’s done in spring training, the way he’s adjusted. He’s cleared every hurdle at spring training.”
Kuroda started the game by striking out four over three innings of no-hit ball.
The seven-year MLB veteran is scheduled to start the Yankees’ second game of the season against the Houston Astros.
Kuroda made four appearances during the spring and finishing 1-0 with a 4.76 ERA. CC Sabathia will be starter in the Yankees’ opener on Tuesday in Houston.
Ellsbury feels confident
Yankees center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury had an infield single and a single to center in five at-bats during a minor league intrasquad game.
Ellsbury, out the past two weeks due to right calf tightness, scored a run and played six innings of defense during his third minor league game over the last four days.
“I feel pretty confident,” Ellsbury said. “Pretty much those last couple days got everything I needed to do.”
Ellsbury is in his first year with the Yankees after spending seven seasons with the Boston Red Sox.
Ellsbury a career .297 hitter with 314 RBIs and 241 stolen bases for the Red Sox and helped Boston win World Series titles in both 2007 and 2013.