Making official what was reported earlier this week, Yankees manager Joe Girardi announced that Masahiro Tanaka will start Opening Day.
Tanaka was brilliant as a rookie last season, going 13-5 with a 2.77 ERA and 141/21 K/BB ratio in 136 innings, but he was shut down with elbow problems in July and has spent all spring trying to show that he can continue pitching without undergoing Tommy John surgery.
The results have been very promising, with a 1.74 ERA and 12/1 K/BB ratio in 10 spring training innings, and the Yankees feel confident enough in Tanaka’s health to send him out there for Game 1.
Girardi also announced that Tanaka will be followed in the rotation by Michael Pineda, CC Sabathia, and Nathan Eovaldi, with the fifth spot unnamed (but presumed to be going to Adam Warren).
Red Sox left-hander Chris Sale has been placed on the 10-day injured list with left elbow inflammation, the club revealed Saturday. The assignment is retroactive to August 14. In a corresponding roster move, right-handed reliever Ryan Brasier was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket.
It’s an alarming development for the 30-year-old ace, who has been remarkably injury-free after dealing with a lingering case of shoulder inflammation last summer. While he hasn’t replicated the career-high results he delivered over the last two seasons, he still leads Red Sox pitchers with 3.6 fWAR and will head to the IL with a 6-11 record in 25 starts, a 4.40 ERA, 2.3 BB/9, and league-best 13.3 SO/9 through 147 1/3 innings. A timetable has not been given for his return, nor has the severity of his injury been disclosed. Per Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski, Sale has been experiencing pain in his elbow since Wednesday and will undergo further evaluation in the days to come.
Brasier, 31, was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket in mid-July after pitching to mixed results in the majors. He currently holds a 4.46 ERA, 2.7 BB/9, and 8.0 SO/9 with the Red Sox, though his results in Triple-A — one run, one walk, and 13 strikeouts over 9 1/3 innings — suggest that he might be capable of even sharper results when he rejoins the big league club.