Crisis averted. For now.

Masahiro Tanaka, whose right hamstring strain had been slow to heal, will start Wednesday night against the visiting Red Sox, giving the righthander one warm-up start before the American League wild-card game the following Tuesday.

"I knew that I was going to be back out there before the season ended, so no big surprise there," Tanaka said through his translator, "but yes, relieved and happy to be back out there."

He injured the hamstring in his Sept. 18 start against the Mets, and though he went six innings in that game, the injury became more pronounced in the days that followed. Speaking late last week, Tanaka (12-7, 3.38) said he expected at least some discomfort in the hamstring the rest of the season. But he got through a full round of fielding practice Monday and appears ready to pitch.

"It's a little bit of a concern, but obviously he's [gone] through a lot of the hurdles that he needs to go through," manager Joe Girardi said.

As for Tanaka getting at least one start before next Tuesday, Girardi said: "I think it's important because you don't want anyone to sit that long without making a start. For us, we want to get him back out there and know he's capable of doing everything he needs to do."

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Besides Tanaka Wednesday night, Girardi set his rotation for the series, announcing Michael Pineda as Tuesday night's starter and CC Sabathia on Thursday night.

Break it up

Girardi, like just about everyone else, saw a replay of Sunday's dugout fracas in Washington between Nationals teammates Bryce Harper and Jonathan Papelbon.

"It's a game where there are heated exchanges. Sometimes they go overboard," Girardi said. "There's frustration in this game and sometimes it's not handled the way that you want it to be handled. But you move on. My guess is you'll get to spring training and it probably won't mean a lot, but right now it's a heightened situation."