TAMPA, Fla.— Masahiro Tanaka has a new pitch.
The Yankees righthander is working with a knuckle-curveball, a pitch he used sparingly toward the end of last season but plans to utilize far more this season.
“I really didn’t like how the previous curveball was moving, so I wanted to try something new and that’s where basically I have a new curveball now,” Tanaka said through his translator in the clubhouse Tuesday morning.
Tanaka, who was 12-6 with a 3.75 ERA last season, said it’s a pitch he worked on developing this offseason and into the spring.
“It’s something that I’ve been kind of been playing around with or trying during the latter part of the season last year,” he said. “Actually I’ve thrown a couple in a game towards the end of last season. So I kept working on it and working on it.”
Tanaka made his spring training debut Sunday, allowing one hit in three scoreless innings in which he walked none and struck out two.
King of media
ESPN announced Tuesday that CC Sabathia had agreed to appear on various platforms, including Get Up!, the network’s morning show, throughout the season.
“It’s just something I can do,” said Sabathia, who plans to retire after the season. “I’ve been doing the podcast [the last two years with YES and ESPN broadcaster Ryan Ruocco] while I’ve been playing. On the days I’m not pitching I’m up early anyway so why not be in the studio doing what I like to do, which is talk about sports.
Sabathia is known as perhaps the clubhouse’s biggest sports junkie and his appearances — he committed to a minimum of 15 — won’t be strictly baseball related.
“Actually don’t want to talk about baseball, I want to talk about other sports,” he said. “I watch so many other sports and am a fan of so many other sports, I think it will be fun.”
Aaron Hicks’ sore lower back, which kept him out of the lineup Sunday, has progressed but not to the point he can start baseball activities, which might not happen for a few more days.
“Obviously slower than I want it to be but I feel like I’m headed in the right direction,” said Hicks, who last week signed a seven-year, $70 million extension.
Big start for Judge
Aaron Judge went 2-for-3, including his third homer of the spring and his third double. Judge is 6-for-13 and slugging 1.385 in five games