NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Masahiro Tanaka will get the ball on opening day for the New York Yankees, as expected.
Manager Joe Girardi made it official on Friday, announcing that the Japanese ace will start the season April 6 against the Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium. He'll be followed in order by Michael Pineda and CC Sabathia, who is coming off knee surgery.
"Being able to pitch on that very first day of the season, I think it says a lot about what the organization is expecting out of a pitcher," Tanaka said through an interpreter earlier this week.
Nathan Eovaldi will get the fourth game of the season on April 10, when New York opens a three-game set at home against the rival Boston Red Sox.
Girardi didn't name a fifth starter, though right-hander Adam Warren is thought to have a wide lead over Esmil Rogers, Bryan Mitchell and Chase Whitley.
Tanaka is entering his second season with New York after missing more than two months in 2014 with a partially torn ligament in his elbow. He tried to ease concerns about his velocity on Wednesday by saying a decrease comes with the territory as he's working on his two-seam fastball.
Tanaka went 13-5 with a 2.77 ERA last season and is pitching to a 1.74 ERA in three starts (1-1) this spring.
The decision to go with the 26-year-old international sensation means Sabathia's streak of opening day starts with the Yankees will end at six.
"I've done it a lot," Sabathia said last week. "I want to be there in September, and for Game 1 of whatever playoff series. I leave that up to them. I hate to sound like I don't care, because I do. But whenever I get out there, I'll be happy with that."
for more features.