BALTIMORE — It would not be an understatement to say that Masahiro Tanaka has been champing at the bit to get back on the mound.
The righthander had the second-shortest outing of his big-league career on Opening Day in St. Petersburg against the Rays, lasting 2 2⁄3 innings in a 7-3 loss. He’ll get another crack at it Saturday afternoon against the Orioles at Camden Yards.
“Mentally, you want to go out there as quick as possible and get some positive results and move forward,” Tanaka said Friday through his translator.
Still, that desire was tempered by the need to make some fixes. “In terms of some of the mechanical flaws that you need to fix and adjust, I probably needed this time to make those adjustments,” Tanaka said. “And I feel I was able to do that.”
The adjustments? “More than anything, it was trying to avoid the body from flying open too soon,” said Tanaka, who added that the flaw contributed to too many pitches up in the strike zone. “Just trying to close that body and not have it fly open on pitches.”
Tanaka said the clause in his contract that allows him to opt out after the season is not a factor. “No, it doesn’t affect me at all,” he said. “I understand what the contract says, but it has nothing to do with how I perform on the mound.”
Kaprielian has MRIs
Top pitching prospect James Kaprielian had his right elbow evaluated in Tampa on Friday by team orthopedist Daniel Murphy and underwent an MRI and dye-contrast MRI, the results of which were shared with team physician Christopher Ahmad. Kaprielian is scheduled to receive further evaluation and consultation by Dr. Neil ElAttrache in Los Angeles on Tuesday.
“It’s not what you want to hear because we believe the upside for this kid is really high,” Joe Girardi said. “The news we got is not the news you want to hear, but you keep your fingers crossed.”