UPDATE1: Baseball: Tanaka named Yankees' Opening Day starter

SPORTS

New York Yankees ace Masahiro Tanaka will start for the team on Opening Day for the third year in a row, manager Joe Girardi announced Tuesday.

"Our plan is for him to be the Opening Day starter," Girardi said at a news conference. "You've got to see where he's at, but I don't really see him being not our Opening Day starter unless something was to arise that I wasn't expecting."

The 28-year-old right-hander will start for the Yankees at Tropicana Field on April 2, when New York is scheduled to open the season against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Last year, Girardi did not confirm Tanaka's Opening Day assignment until March 31, as he struggled in Grapefruit League play coming off surgery to remove a bone spur from his pitching elbow.

In his three years in New York, Tanaka is 39-16 with a 3.12 ERA in 75 starts. He pitched in 31 games last year for the Yankees, going 14-4 to post his highest win total of his big-league seasons.

==Kyodo

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