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Setting tone for no-no, Pitcher Masahiro Tanaka continues dominant spring

LAKELAND, Fla. — Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka continued his superb spring with 4 1/3 fantastic innings against the Tigers on Friday at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium, setting the tone for a 3-0 win in which three Yankees pitchers no-hit Detroit. With the effort, Tanaka ran his Grapefruit League total to 13 1/3 scoreless frames.

The Yankees’ ace walked his first two batters of the spring while striking out six, and he has now tallied 19 strikeouts and permitted just three hits as he prepares to make his third straight Opening Day start on April 2 against the Rays at Tropicana Field.

In all, it has been a stress-free exhibition slate for Tanaka, who set career highs in wins (14), innings (199 2/3), starts (31) and strikeouts (165) last season.

“I just think of how free and easy it’s been,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said before the game. “We haven’t had to worry about coming off of surgery. That’s been the best part. I think his split has been better this spring, too.”

Tanaka, 28, is more than a year removed from arthroscopic surgery to remove a bone spur from his pitching elbow, which stalled him last spring. He also has long since put to rest concerns about his ability to continue pitching with a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament.

“He feels healthier, and I think he’s gotten more accustomed to what we do here,” Girardi said. “The schedule and each year he’s adjusted better to throwing on the fifth day. I think his body is just more prepared for it.”

Source: Setting tone for no-no, Tanaka continues dominant spring