Hiroki Kuroda pitches against the Houston Astros. (March 17, 2012)

Hiroki Kuroda pitches against the Houston Astros. (March 17, 2012) Credit: Getty Images

TAMPA, Fla. -- Hiroki Kuroda will get a chance to make quite a first in-person impression on Yankees fans.

Joe Girardi said before Tuesday night's's game against the Blue Jays that Kuroda would start the second game of the season April 7 on the road against the Rays, meaning he would be lined up to start the home opener April 13 against the Angels.

CC Sabathia, of course, will start the season opener April 6. He started Tuesday night and allowed three runs and six hits in six innings.

Announcing Kuroda as the No. 2 starter wasn't a surprise because early in spring training Girardi said he and Sabathia were the only two guaranteed spots in the rotation, exempt from the competition that has consumed much of camp.

Kuroda, 37, was 41-46 with a 3.45 ERA in four seasons with the Dodgers before signing a one-year deal with the Yankees this offseason. He has been solid this spring (2-1, 3.07).

Another positive for Andy

Andy Pettitte threw the second round of live batting practice in his comeback and said he felt good about his 35 pitches to Chris Dickerson and Nick Swisher.

"When Swisher tells me [the changeup] is moving really good, that makes you feel good," Pettitte said. "He said my four-seamer was riding, my sinker was running, so those are all important things that I need. I need the ball to move late, and the hitters so far are telling me it's doing that."

Said Swisher: "It's almost like the guy didn't take a break. Everything was so smooth."

Girardi repeated what he said last week: that it's realistic to think Pettitte will get in a game before camp breaks next week. The final game, home against the Mets on April 4, would seem the likeliest option.

Extra bases

Minutes before the first pitch, the Yankees announced Curtis Granderson had been scratched with "right elbow soreness." General manager Brian Cashman said Granderson would have a precautionary MRI Wednesday but that the early word was the condition wasn't "serious" . . . Girardi said Swisher, out since leaving last Tuesday's game with tightness in his right groin, is expected to hit in a minor-league game Wednesday. The plan is for him to be back in the lineup by Friday . . . Alex Rodriguez, who left Sunday's game after being plunked in the ribs, was 1-for-3, a double, last night.

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