CC Sabathia made his final tune-up start before heading into the regular season yesterday in Bradenton, tossing four scoreless innings against the Pittsburgh Pirates, and it'll be pretty much the same thing this time around for Hiroki Kuroda, who will also be making his final start of the spring today against the Miami Marlins in Tampa.
Of the five pitchers currently locked in to start the season in the Yankee's rotation, Kuroda has been the most under-the-radar pitcher in camp.
While everyone is spending their time talking about Masahiro Tanaka and how he'll adjust to major league life, Michael Pineda and how he'll be able to come back after missing the last two seasons because of shoulders surgery, and CC Sabathia and the almost beaten to death question about his velocity, no one seems to be talking about Kuroda, who was putting up Cy Young numbers until the final six weeks of the season.
Kuroda has been a very solid and consistent pitcher for the Yankees over the past couple of seasons. He looked good in his first pair of spring starts before running into a little road block around the middle of spring, but it's not anything that a good pitcher like Kuroda can't straighten out.
Kuroda is only expected to throw a couple innings today, or probably even to the 45-50 pitch limit that Sabathia had yesterday. And once Kuroda leaves the game, Tanaka will be the first pitcher out of the bullpen. So, happy Tanaka Day!
Tonight's lineup against Miami:
- Brett Gardner LF
- Derek Jeter SS
- Carlos Beltran RF
- Mark Teixeira 1B
- Brian McCann C
- Alfonso Soriano DH
- Kelly Johnson 3B
- Brian Roberts 2B
- Ichiro Suzuki CF
Minus Jacoby Ellsbury, who went 2-for-5 in a minor league game this morning, the Yankees are using a lineup filled with all of the regulars tonight. The first few times that Girardi went with a lineup full of regulars, it looked a lot like what we're seeing tonight. Assuming Ellsbury will be in Houston for Opening Day, the only slight changes with be having Ellsbury lead off, and probably swapping Ichiro for Gardner.
** According to the reporters in Tampa, there are no noticeable lockers cleared out as we await the Yankees to announce the roster cuts that we are expecting to get today. Girardi and his staff were meeting this morning to discuss the final roster spots, such as the two infield bench spots, and who should be -- if they decide to use one -- the second lefty out of the bullpen.
No other notes right now, so check back often for updates.