TAMPA, Fla. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Masahiro Tanaka is lined up to start the Yankees' opener against Toronto on April 6, which would end CC Sabathia's streak of six straight opening day starts for New York.
"Absolutely, it will be a great honor to be able to pitch opening day," Tanaka said through a translator on Tuesday. "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."
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Sabathia's next exhibition start is Saturday, which lines up the 34-year old left-hander to face the Blue Jays on April 8.
Sabathia is coming back from season-ending knee surgery in July. He has 11 opening day starts overall.
"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."
Tanaka is starting his second season with New York. He missed more than two months in 2014 with a partially torn ligament in his elbow.
Though it appears the Japanese ace will get the call, Girardi still isn't ready to make it official.
"I'll name an opening day starter when we're ready," Girardi said. "I know you don't like that, but I've told you all along we won't do it until the last week, because I want to make sure guys are where they're supposed to be at."
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