Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka got along just fine with baseball’s new 20-second pitch clock in his first spring training start.
Tanaka is one of the majors’ slowest workers, but he didn’t have any violations while working three scoreless innings in New York’s 7-1 win over a Detroit split-squad Sunday.
Tanaka was ranked 76th out of 78 pitchers throwing 150 or more innings last year at 26.1 seconds between pitches, according to Fangraphs. He was ahead of only Houston’s Justin Verlander (26.3) and Boston’s David Price (26.7).
“Yes, I was conscious of that,” Tanaka said through a translator. “It’s something MLB is testing during spring training and it might come into effect once we get into the season. You don’t want to be not prepared if that were to happen.”
He had 19 of his 40 pitches subjected to the clock and saw it hit three seconds against Christin Stewart with a runner on third and one out in the first.
Eight times, the pitch clock dropped into a single digit.
“Everything went smooth for me,” said Tanaka, who does not support the use of the clock. “I felt all in today. It didn’t affect me in a negative way.”
After pushing for an agreement with players last season, Major League Baseball decided on its own to experiment with pitch clocks during spring training this year. Owners have the right to implement them for the regular season but prefer to reach an deal with the union.
Spring highlights: Aaron Judge hit his first two homers of spring training in that win for the Yankees. … Prospects Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (double) and Billy McKinney (home run) led the Blue Jays past a Yankees split-squad 5-2. … Kris Bryant singled and hit his second home run of the spring, and Yu Darvish worked two hitless innings, striking out three, in the Cubs’ 13-4 win over the White Sox.
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