CLEARWATER, Fla. - Joe Girardi made official Friday morning what had been apparent for weeks.
Barring injury, Masahiro Tanaka will be the Yankees' Opening Day starter April 6 at the Stadium against the Blue Jays, ending CC Sabathia's run of six straight openers.
The 26-year-old righthander, clearly the ace of the Bombers' staff last season when he went 13-5 with a 2.77 ERA, to this point of the spring has answered most of the questions surrounding his right elbow, in which he suffered a torn ulner collateral ligament in 2014.
He will be followed by Michael Pineda, Sabathia and Nathan Eovaldi. It is expected Adam Warren will be announced soon as the No. 5 starter.
"We feel that's the way it works the best," Girardi said of the rotation order. "We feel that gives everyone a chance to be pretty ready. Tanaka will be on a little bit of a pitch count the first time [through], not so much the second or third time."
A priority this spring was working more days off into Tanaka's schedule. When he takes the mound for the opener, will be doing so on six days' rest. His last start of the spring next Tuesday in Fort Myers against the Twins also will be on six days' rest.
"It's an honor, obviously," Tanaka said through his translator. "I spoke with Joe earlier today and he told me officially. Now that I know when I'm pitching, my job is to get ready for that day."