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Masahiro Tanaka to make first exhibition game appearance on Saturday

Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka throws a pitch

Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka throws a pitch during spring training practice Friday, Feb. 21, 2014, in Tampa, Fla. Credit: AP / Charlie Neibergall

TAMPA, Fla. - Masahiro Tanaka's spring training debut will come the same day as CC Sabathia's and Hiroki Kuroda's.

One of the pitchers that day is sure to garner a bit more attention than the other two.

Joe Girardi disclosed after Tuesday's 8-3 victory over Florida State in the Yankees' exhibition opener that the trio would all pitch Saturday afternoon against the Phillies at Steinbrenner Field.

Sabathia will start the game, followed by Kuroda and Tanaka, whose every move in spring training has been extensively chronicled by the Japanese and American media.

Tanaka was the prize of the Yankees' free-agent class, signed last month to a seven-year, $155-million contract.

"We're going to space them out, Tanaka's starts we're going to space out a little bit more in spring training," said Girardi, referencing the adjustment the 25-year-old needs to pitching every fifth day compared to every sixth or seventh day in Japan. "He'll be on five days [rest] sometimes. With some off days, it gets kind of tricky, so it's just the way Larry [Rothschild] drew it up."

Each pitcher will be limited to two innings or 35 pitches, whichever comes first.

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