TAMPA, Fla. - Masahiro Tanaka is closing in on his first game of the spring.

The righthander threw a 30-pitch bullpen session Wednesday morning, with his next step a simulated game, probably on Saturday.

Tanaka would then be lined up to make his spring debut a week from Thursday against the Braves at Steinbrenner Field, though Joe Girardi hasn't said for certain.

"Yeah," Tanaka said through his translator, asked if he was ready to pitch in a game. "Gradually been able to build up pretty well so far. So whenever they want me to go I'm ready to go."

Tanaka was sidelined for 2½ months last season while rehabbing a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. He has experienced no issues with it this spring.

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Fast times

The newest member of the Yankees' rotation, righthander Nathan Eovaldi, started and allowed two hits and a run in two innings. He threw 31 pitches, 20 of them for strikes, and struck out one. Scouts in the stands clocked his fastball as high as 98 mph.

"I felt good, I felt strong," Eovaldi said. "Everything was good. Moved the ball inside and outside."

The pitcher is trying to incorporate a splitter into his repertoire and he said he threw "four or five," including a strikeout pitch to Maikel Franco in the second.

Didi happy in pinstripes

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Shortstop Didi Gregorius wore a wide smile while discussing his first time wearing pinstripes in game action.

"It was an amazing feeling, I'm not going to lie," said the 25-year-old, who replaces Derek Jeter at shortstop. He went 0-for-1 with a walk. "It was amazing for me, just wearing the pinstripes. It was great."

Miller on the mound

Andrew Miller made his exhibition debut and pitched a scoreless inning.

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"Happy with it in general," Miller said. "Felt my breaking ball was really good. Nice to come back and realize it's still there after the offseason."

"That's a pretty important pitch for me."

Extra bases

Girardi said he expects Carlos Beltran, who's been brought along slowly this spring because of offseason surgery to fix a bone spur in his right elbow, to play in his first game Friday at Steinbrenner Field . . . Righthander Danny Burawa, a former standout at Rocky Point High School and St. John's University, pitched a perfect sixth.