A source told Marly Rivera of ESPN Deportes on Wednesday that Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka will likely make his Grapefruit League debut on March 12 against the Braves. That would be next Thursday, a home game at Steinbrenner Field.
Tanaka has looked healthy so far in his bullpen and live batting practice sessions at Yankees camp.
He successfully rehabbed a torn UCL in his right elbow last season and the Yankees’ fingers remain crossed that the 26-year-old from Japan will be able to avoid Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery.
Tanaka put up a 2.77 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, and 9.3 K/9 in his first 20 major league starts.
The Blue Jays announced on Monday the signing of lefty reliever Marc Rzepczynski to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training. “Scrabble,” as he’s affectionately known, spent the first two and a half years of his career with the Blue Jays in 2009-11.
Rzepczynski, 34, hasn’t appeared in the majors since July 2018. He struggled across 44 2/3 innings with the Reno Aces, the Diamondbacks’ Triple-A affiliate, last year. He posted a 5.04 ERA with 36 strikeouts and 28 walks.
While lefty relievers are always high in demand, it seems likely that Rzepczynski will begin the regular season in the minors and serve as organizational depth for the Blue Jays.