TAMPA, Fla. — New York ace Masahiro Tanaka sparkled in his spring training debut, a Yankees’ 3-2 win over Atlanta on March 12 in which Braves Manager Fredi Gonzalez was ejected after one pitch by his starter.
Tanaka was perfect in two quick innings, striking out two. “I think I was able to throw pretty close to how I would be throwing in the regular season,” Tanaka said through a translator.
After Tanaka threw nine of 11 pitches for strikes in the first, Shelby Miller’s first pitch to Yankees leadoff man Jacoby Ellsbury was a ball. Gonzalez argued the call and was tossed by plate umpire Dan Iassogna.
“It was balls and strikes,” Gonzalez said. “I thought the balls that the first inning when we were hitting were down and called strikes. We throw a pretty good pitch and call it a ball. It’s a late game at spring training. I get a little ornery because I’m usually in bed at this time, and so maybe my temper got a little bit of me.”
Miller liked his manager sticking up for the team.
“You see some calls that we didn’t like early on in the top of the first, and then it goes around and that first pitch I threw was there,” Miller said. “I thought so, and so did he.”
Tanaka was an All-Star last year during his first season in the majors, but the Japanese right-hander missed 2 1/2 months while rehabilitating a partially torn ligament in his elbow. He returned for two starts in late September.
“I have a good feeling about him,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
One day after hitting his first home run since returning to the Yankees following a drug suspension, Alex Rodriguez went 0 for 2 with a walk. A-Rod, who turns 40 in July, has five hits in 13 at-bats (.385) this spring training.
Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons, sidelined by an oblique injury, went 1-for-3 in his spring training debut. “Simmons got through it with everything OK,” Gonzalez said.