Masahiro Tanaka prepares for first Yankee Stadium start Wednesday

Masahiro Tanaka
Masahiro Tanaka was strong in spring training and his first start in Toronto last week.
Credit: Getty Images

Though he is not about to divulge any of his trade secrets, there are some things Masahiro Tanaka feels can be improved upon in his next start.

He makes his Yankee Stadium debut when he takes the mound on Wednesday night against the Orioles.

“For me, it’s all about the mechanics about how I pitched,” Tanaka said through an interpreter before Tuesday’s game. “That said, I know where I need to fix and I’ll go into the game tomorrow.”

Tanaka’s first win came Friday night in Toronto when he allowed three runs (two earned) and six hits while striking out eight without a walk. He wound up becoming the seventh pitcher to have a debut of at least seven innings to go along with eight strikeouts without walking anyone.

Tanaka threw 97 pitches (65 strikes) to 27 hitters and the breakdown was 30 sinking fastballs, 24 split-fingered fastballs, 18 sliders, 12 four-seam fastballs and a combination of 13 cutters, changeups and curveballs.

Those are pitches Baltimore’s Chris Davis is looking forward to seeing.

“We’ll find out [how we do],” Davis said. “We obviously haven’t seen him yet. We know a lot about him but it’s one of those things you game plan and go out and play the game”

The focus on mechanics trumps any focus on the potential of pitching in the cold because Tanaka spent time pitching in Sendai, Japan, which has similar weather fluctuations as New York.

Perhaps the biggest thing Tanaka is anticipating is the crowd, especially after he heard some of the biggest cheers during pregame ceremonies in the home opener.

“I was going through the ceremony yesterday and I felt that the fans are here to back us up, not like Toronto,” he said. “It should be nice.”

Who’s on first?

Manager Joe Girardi often tells players to do something just in case a situation arises.

For Francisco Cervelli, that something was taking ground balls at first base and Tuesday afternoon “just in case” became a reality for the backup catcher.

By Cervelli’s estimate, it was his first appearance since he was 15 years old in Venezuela.

“If I’ve got to pitch, I’ll go, too,” Cervelli said. “It’s not like I feel like I’m Mark Teixeira, but I think I’m going to be comfortable with more games. I think it’s like every other position. If I feel I’m not going to catch the ball, I’m going to block it.”

The Yankees were not looking for anything like Teixeira’s Gold Glove-caliber performance but decided to put Cervelli there based on what they’ve witnessed during infield practices. Cervelli didn’t get any time at first in exhibition games due to the backup catching competition.

“[We are looking] for him to be OK,” Girardi said. “Obviously he hasn’t a lot of time over there. I’ve seen him take a lot of ground balls over the years he’s been here. When I’ve watched he’s been able to take ground balls and make it look pretty easy.”

Cervelli wound up recording six putouts and earned a passing grade from Girardi, though there was a mix-up on a bunt base hit by Ryan Flaherty in the second.

Jones offers thoughts on trespassers

During the final innings, two fans sprinted onto the field and were tackled by security guards once they reached second base.

Along the way, they were also greeted with some choice words from Baltimore center fielder Adam Jones.

Afterward, Jones didn’t hide his feelings on those who decide to run out on the field.

“I let him know how I felt,” Jones said. “Obviously [I had] a lot of choice words because I think it’s idiotic for people to run on the field and I think the punishment needs to be a lot harsher and I think they should let us have a shot to kick them with our metal spikes.

“It’s stupid. You look like a jackass when you run on the field and we don’t go to any other events, we don’t go to other sporting events, and do that to their jobs. I get it, you’re drunk and you want to be on ‘Sportscenter’ but your ass is going to jail with a fine and you might not be allowed to come back to the ballpark.”

Follow Yankees beat writer Larry Fleisher on Twitter @LarryFleisher.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.

International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Local

MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

MLB

Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

Travel

Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.

Education

Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…

Education

NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.

Tech

The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.