Masahiro Tanaka goes two scoreless, strikes out three in his U.S. debut

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TAMPA — Masahiro Tanaka made his U.S. debut today, facing the Phillies at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa. Tanaka pitched third in the game, with CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda taking the first four innings. Tanaka was not dominant, but he was effective.

In the fifth he gave up a leadoff single to Darin Ruf then retired Cody Asche and Cameron Rup on flies to left. He pitched the count full against Cesar Hernandez before ultimately striking him out. Back out for the sixth he struck out Ben Revere on three swinging strikes, one of which came on Tanaka’s fabled split-finger fastball. He then allowed a Ronny Cedeno single to center, struck out Domonic Brown and then induced Kelly Dugan to fly out to center.

Tanaka wasn’t razor-sharp, but he looked just fine for a guy getting his first work in of the spring. He threw 32 pitches, 22 for strikes. When he needed to dial it up a bit, such as that splitter to Revere and the chest-high fastball that served as strike three to Brown, he was able to easily. Mostly, he looked composed. He was like any other major leaguer at the first of March. He knows it’s a long season and didn’t feel any need to go to 10 when the Yankees only needed him at a 7.

Not bad for a 7.

Check out the highlights from Tanaka’s performance below:

 

Report: Rockies close to signing Bryan Shaw

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Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Rockies are close to an agreement with free agent reliever Bryan Shaw. According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, Shaw’s deal is for three years and will guarantee about $9 million per year.

Shaw, 30, has spent the last five seasons in the Indians’ bullpen. Over that span of time, mostly setting up for closer Cody Allen, Shaw put up an aggregate 3.11 ERA with a 333/119 K/BB ratio in 358 2/3 innings.

The Rockies have been in hot pursuit of bullpen help after losing Greg Holland and Pat Neshek to free agency. Shaw would certainly represent a significant improvement in the bullpen.