Yankees pitcher Jonathan Loaisiga throws against the Rays during a spring training game...

Yankees pitcher Jonathan Loaisiga throws against the Rays during a spring training game at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Fla., on Feb. 23. Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

TAMPA, Fla. – Jonathan Loaisiga’s spring couldn’t have started much better.

Excellent timing for the 25-year-old given what’s at stake.

The Yankees, because of injuries to Luis Severino - who is out for the year - and James Paxton, out until at least May, have two rotation spots open. One is assumed to be going to Jordan Montgomery.

Loaisiga is among a handful of pitchers in contention for the other spot and he’s done superb work in laying claim to it. The hard-throwing righty was dominant Tuesday in his third spring outing, striking out four in two perfect innings to close out the Red Sox in the Yankees’ 9-1 victory. Loaisiga, whose fastball sat in the 98-mph range, has struck out nine and walked none in five total innings.

“He’s coming in on the attack right now and seems to have a feel for his pitches,” Boone said. “You see that dynamic stuff. We’ll continue to stretch him out a little bit; what role it ends up being, it could be multiples. It’s just good to see him throwing the ball well and on the attack.”

Tanaka terrific

Throwing the cutter he’s been working on all spring “a lot,” Masahiro Tanaka started Tuesday and struck out five and walked none over three hitless and scoreless innings.

“I thought everything was working pretty good out there,” Tanaka said through his interpreter.

Of the cutter, Tanaka said: “If I compare it to my [first] outing, I think it was a little sharper and crisper.”

Being vigilant

Boone said the Yankees had not yet heard from the league regarding the coronavirus that’s creating a worldwide panic.

“I think it’s something we’ll kind of talk about as a group and try to get our arms around to make sure we’re taking the necessary precautions to keep us healthy,” Boone said.

Gerrit Cole, slated to start Thursday in Lakeland vs. Detroit, was sick Monday but felt better Tuesday and watched most of the game from the dugout.

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