Masahiro Tanaka looking forward to Fenway debut
BOSTON - Nothing has fazed Masahiro Tanaka to this point in his rookie season in the majors, and Joe Girardi doesn't see that changing Tuesday night when the righthander faces the Red Sox for the first time.
"Everything so far, he's handled pretty well," Girardi said. "There hasn't been anything that's said he's going to be any more anxious for this start than any other start. I expect him to have the same personality."
The 25-year-old Tanaka comes into the game 2-0 with a 2.05 ERA in three starts, striking out 28 in 22 innings, while walking only two.
Lefty Jon Lester (2-2, 2.17) starts for the Red Sox.
Michael Pineda goes Wednesday night against John Lackey, and CC Sabathia battles Felix Doubront on Thursday.
Tanaka is coming off a start against the Cubs on Wednesday in which he struck out 10 and walked one in eight innings in a 3-0 victory.
But facing the Red Sox, with all that the rivalry involves, is a new test that Tanaka said he is familiar with from afar.
"Through the television monitor in Japan, I've seen the two teams play and I understand there's a rivalry between the two teams," Tanaka said through his interpreter. "Going into the games, I'm sure that the fans will be heated up a bit. Should be a good experience for me and I'm very much looking forward to it."
As for pitching at Fenway and its many quirks, particularly the imposing Green Monster in left, Tanaka shrugged.
"I understand that if you give up fly balls, it might be dangerous," he said. "So I think the best thing to do is try to get as many ground-ball outs as possible."
Girardi believes Tanaka is prepared for the amped-up atmosphere of a Yankees-Red Sox series.
"He's probably as well as he could be prepared," Girardi said. "He's throwing the ball well. I'm sure he's looking forward to it. I'm sure there's curiosity, a lot of things that probably go through his mind."
The Yankees wrapped up an odd four-game series against the Rays in St. Petersburg, Fla., Sunday with a 5-1 victory in 12 innings, in which Dean Anna snapped a 1-1 tie in the 12th by drawing a bases-loaded walk with two outs. The rookie infielder pitched in garbage time of a 16-1 loss the night before.
"That's a big win," Girardi said. "After winning the first game the way we did and then really get beat up the next two days, to be able to bounce back, leave here 2-2 and you have a day off and try to get ready for the Red Sox, I thought that was a big win."
Notes & quotes: Jacoby Ellsbury returns to Fenway for the first time after spending the entirety of his career with the Red Sox organization.
"You can't think about what they're going to do," Ellsbury said Sunday when asked about the reaction he expects from Boston fans. "In this game, you can really only focus on what you can do, not worry about all that other stuff that you can't control . . . We'll see what happens. I gave the organization everything I had for a third of my life. Nine years in an organization -- drafted by them, came up and won two World Series. I left it all on the field."
Righthander Bryan Mitchell, who was brought up Sunday to provide bullpen depth, was optioned back to Double-A Trenton . . . Righthander Matt Daley, designated for assignment Sunday, was optioned to Triple-A Scranton / Wilkes-Barre. Daley, 31, is a 2000 graduate of Garden City High School.