Masahiro Tanaka will take the mound in Anaheim on Monday night, and with just about everything else running smoothly for the Yankees, the righthander remains a big question mark.
Tanaka has given up 12 runs in his last 10 2⁄3 innings. After pitching a three-hit shutout against the Red Sox on April 27, he is 2-5 with an 8.50 ERA.
Tanaka maintains that his struggles are not injury-related. Asked Sunday if he would submit to diagnostic testing if the Yankees make the request, he said through his translator: “Physically, I have no problem. I feel like that’s a trick question. But, you know, if the team tells you to do something, you go ahead and do that.’’
Tanaka worked out at the Stadium and was sent to California before Sunday afternoon’s game with the Orioles.
“I think I made the necessary preparation to get into [Monday night’s] game,’’ he said. “You know, you feel like you’re left a little bit behind just because the team’s doing so well . . . So you want to go in there and try to get out a strong performance and I feel a confidence in doing that . . . I would tell you it’s real ly about the mechanics, that’s where it kind of boils down to. I feel like I’ve been able to work on that a little bit.’’
Tanaka, who was scheduled to start against the Orioles but was pushed back because the Yankees didn’t want him to face an opponent that is familiar with him and has hit him hard, said: “I think there may be some extra motivation there. You actually don’t want a team to do that. You want to keep in that same rotation. In the same spot. So the goal is to get myself back to what I can do out there and, um, you know, just keep the rotation going as it is.’’
Lefthanded reliever Tommy Layne was designated for assignment. “Tommy was really, really good for us last year,’’ manager Joe Girardi said. “He pitched great. It’s kind of been a struggle this year.’’ Domingo Germán was brought up from Triple-A and pitched 2 2⁄3 scoreless innings. He was returned to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Sunday night and righthander Ben Heller was promoted to the Yankees . . . Girardi said he isn’t sure if Greg Bird (right ankle bruise) will join the team during the trip. Girardi said the first baseman isn’t hurting “but we feel he needs at-bats. He got a couple hits [Saturday] night . . . We want to get him to where we feel he is ready to go.’’ Bird is hitting .200 in four games for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre after hitting .353 in six games for Class A Tampa, but he has walked nine times in the 10 games for an overall .439 on-base percentage.
With Roger Rubin