TAMPA, Fla. -- Masahiro Tanaka's next assignment will come as a starter, as manager Joe Girardi has announced that Tanaka is scheduled to start on Thursday against the Phillies in Clearwater, Fla.
Tanaka, 25, made his debut as a reliever in Saturday's 2-0 win over the Phillies at George M. Steinbrenner Field, throwing two scoreless innings. He allowed two singles and struck out three, with no walks.
"I think he handled it really well," Girardi said. "I know he's pitched out of the bullpen, but the way he did it yesterday, he's not used to doing [that] all the time.
"But I think he handled the situation really well, because I think there's been a lot of anticipation for that, and I think there will be a lot of anticipation for his first real start."
Girardi said that Tanaka's poise has been encouraging. Tanaka has not seemed to have any issues dealing with the attention surrounding his arrival in camp or the seven-year, $155 million contract he signed.
"It gives you a belief that he can handle it," Girardi said.
With Tanaka drawing Thursday's starting nod on the road, left-hander CC Sabathia will remain behind to throw in a simulated game at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Sabathia threw two scoreless innings in his spring debut.
Tex set to take the field on Thursday or Friday
TAMPA, Fla. -- Mark Teixeira will play in his first game of the spring on either Thursday or Friday, manager Joe Girardi said.
Teixeira has been slightly behind the rest of the Yankees' position players as he wraps up rehab following surgery on his right wrist, though he has been taking batting practice and ground balls at first base.
Girardi should be able to put Teixeira in the field for either game. The Yankees will visit the Phillies on Thursday in Clearwater, Fla., and are scheduled to host the Tigers for a night game on Friday at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
"I think sometimes you worry about their anxiousness to get out there," Girardi said. "I think Tex has been pretty smart about the way he's gone about his work. I think guys miss it so much that they rush things back. He's been right on track. We haven't been worried about that."
Teixeira had planned to miss the first week of exhibition games but said that he would get started on the field early in March. He played in just 15 games last season after injuring the wrist hitting off a tee while preparing for the World Baseball Classic.
Remnants of flu keep Soriano on the bench
TAMPA, Fla. -- Alfonso Soriano's spring debut will be delayed until early next week as he continues to recover from a nasty bout with the flu.
Soriano had been scheduled to play on Sunday against the Blue Jays in Dunedin, Fla., but was scratched after telling the trainers that he still feels dizzy and weak.
"I want to play some games," Soriano said. "There's a lot of games left, but this is the right time to play these games. It doesn't matter if you're not feeling good at home plate; at least I'd see some pitching to get my timing right."
Soriano took batting practice all last week, and said he would probably be able to play if this were the regular season. The Yankees put him through a full workout on Saturday at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
"He did a lot [on Saturday]. I kind of want to see how he feels [on Monday]," manager Joe Girardi said.
Beltran concerned with timing, not stats
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- It has been a long time since Carlos Beltran gave much thought to his Spring Training statistics, but it still feels great to square up a ball and hit it well.
Beltran's first hit in a Yankees uniform carried over the right-field wall, a solo shot off Todd Redmond in the third inning of New York's 8-2 Grapefruit League victory over Toronto on Sunday.
"As long as I physically feel good and I'm healthy, that's what I care about the most," Beltran said. "The timing will come: keep working in the cage, keep taking extra BP, extra hitting. You keep facing pitchers, and live pitching also will make it better."
"You want to see guys swinging the bat well, obviously," manager Joe Girardi said. "It's really important at the end, but it doesn't really matter sometimes. You can be swinging the bat horrible at the end of Spring Training and get off to a hot start, and vice versa, but it's always nice to see."
A switch-hitter, Beltran said that his timing always seems to come faster from the left side of the plate than the right. His homer on Sunday, the second of a back-to-back duo with Eduardo Nunez, came off a right-hander.
"You face more righties than lefties, that's why you've got to go to the cage," he said. "When you're a switch-hitter, you have to keep things balanced. There's a lot of work that has to be done, but at the same time, you've got to do it."
• Vidal Nuno allowed a solo home run to Jose Bautista on Sunday, accounting for the only damage in his two-inning outing. Nuno allowed two hits with no walks and three strikeouts.
"It went fine, just got a little bit happy with the fastball today," Nuno said. "Overall, [I'm] pleased a little bit how the outcome came. Just one pitch, and Bautista just hit it out."
Girardi has said that he would consider Nuno for the bullpen if he does not win the fifth spot in the rotation.
• Girardi will start evaluating his starters more seriously during the next turn through the rotation.
"You think about a day like today, you only go through a lineup once," Girardi said on Sunday. "You don't get to throw a ton of pitches, so maybe you throw four curveballs instead of 10 or 12."
• There was a small fire near the visitors' clubhouse at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium before Sunday's game, causing smoke to fill the room and prompting most of the Yankees to gather their belongings.
"We had to clear out," Girardi said. "I guess it's the grounds crew clubhouse that's attached to our clubhouse, and I think a towel caught on fire in the dryer. It was a little smoky in our clubhouse. Nuno didn't move, though."