BRADENTON, Fla. - After his second live BP session of the spring Monday, Masahiro Tanaka declared himself ready for game action.
The Yankees apparently agreed, announcing late Tuesday afternoon that the 25-year-old righthander would make his spring training debut Saturday against the Phillies at Steinbrenner Field.
"It's part of spring training," Tanaka said through his interpreter Wednesday after a bullpen session in Tampa. "I'm not actually going into a regular-season game or anything. But I'm looking forward to going out there and pitching."
Tanaka will pitch third Saturday, preceded to the mound by CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda. Girardi said each of the pitchers will be relegated to two innings or 35 pitches, whichever comes first.
"Obviously I understand that some of the people are just going to look at the numbers of the game that I'm pitching," Tanaka said. "But I'm not really too focused and worried about that."
Nova gets through it
Ivan Nova, who has said he's approaching the spring as if he's battling for a rotation spot even though Girardi has said one is virtually assured, allowed two runs and two hits with two walks in 11/3 innings. Nova left with runners on the corners with one out in the second, having reached his pitch limit of 37.
The Yankees have told their pro scouts in Florida and Arizona to be on the lookout for infield help as spring training games begin, though GM Brian Cashman said Wednesday "just not expensive help."
"If we need to do improvements, it's got to be cheap," he said. "We've spent our money."
The Yankees do have a catching surplus that could be used to attain either infield or bullpen depth.
Righthander Jose Ramirez, well thought of by club executives, some of whom think he can win a bullpen spot, was scheduled to pitch Wednesday but felt his back "lock up" while warming up, Girardi said.
"Obviously they'll have to take a look at it tomorrow," he said.
Girardi said he expects Mark Teixeira to make his spring debut toward the "end" of next week. Teixeira is being brought along slowly because of his surgically repaired right wrist . . . Eduardo Nuñez was scratched because of flu-like symptoms, similar to the ones sidelining Alfonso Soriano. Girardi said Soriano, who missed five days of workouts with the bug, likely won't make his spring debut until Sunday against Toronto.
With David Lennon in Tampa