MILWAUKEE - It is easy to find pitchers in the Yankees' clubhouse who are excited about hitting. CC Sabathia, who annually puts on impressive displays during batting practice before games in National League parks, is one example.
But Masahiro Tanaka, the ace of the Yankees' rotation to this point, is not one of them. "A little bit scary,'' he said of the prospect of hitting.
Tanaka brings an impressive 4-0 record and 2.53 ERA into Friday night's start against the Brewers, whose 22-13 record is baseball's best. But to hear him tell it, he doesn't have an especially good chance of doing anything impressive with the bat.
Odd, because Tanaka has looked more than comfortable during BP, even driving a ball or two over the wall. Joe Girardi recalled seeing him double last season in Japan, where Tanaka estimated he had a total of 10 at-bats.
"In certain situations, like bunt situations, I really want to be able to get that right,'' Tanaka said through his translator.
Otherwise, could he see himself swinging?
"I'm not anticipating swinging for now,'' he said, smiling.
That is just fine with Girardi, who is not fond of having pitchers who are not used to hitting trying to do so. Always in his mind is 2008, when Chien-Ming Wang hurt his right foot while running the bases in Houston, an injury that derailed his promising career.
"I know some of our guys are excited about [hitting],'' Girardi said. "I'm not so sure how excited I am about it.''