(Courtesy of the AP)
(Originally published at IIATMS/TYA)
Later today, the Yankees will take the field for their Spring Training opener against Florida State. Vidal Nuno will get the ball to start and he'll be followed up by Ivan Nova, David Phelps, and Adam Warren over the next 3 games. The competition for the 5th starter spot will be the leading storyline for the early ST games, and that's to be expected with that group of pitchers being further along than their veteran counterparts and with the other 4 rotation spots setting in stone.
While he hasn't has his name penciled into a date for his ST debut yet, Masahiro Tanaka took another step towards that debut when he threw his second batting practice session yesterday morning. As he did after the first session on Friday, Tanaka drew praise from the coaches who watched him and the batters who faced him. His splitter is already creating a lot of buzz in camp for its sharp movement and how difficult it is to identify coming out of his hand, and each time he throws, more excitement builds for his first outing. Tanaka added to that excitement after the session when he declared himself ready to pitch in games, a declaration that Joe didn't bite on. One thing that hasn't been talked about a whole lot yet is Joe's plan for Tanaka this spring, and as the pieces of that plan start to formulate I find myself caught between the desire for Joe to be smart, rational, and strategic and the desire to see him unleash Tanaka and make a statement to the rest of the AL.