Hiroki Kuroda and Ivan Nova will follow as the second and third starters, while Masahiro Tanaka will make his major league debut in Toronto against the Blue Jays in the fourth game of the season. As for the fifth starter in the Yankees’ rotation, Girardi said that he has made a decision, but won’t make an announcement until telling the rest of the team.
That competition is between Michael Pineda and David Phelps, although I would be very shocked if Pineda didn’t win the job. It looks likely that he’ll be named the fifth starter, though, because of how well he’s pitched this spring and the fact that the Yankees know Phelps is capable of pitching out of the bullpen, which they don’t know with Pineda.
As for Sabathia, he’ll be making his sixth straight Opening Day start for the Bombers. He lost a ton of weight during the offseason and is still trying to deal with the lost velocity, but his past two spring starts have been very good — tossing 12 shutout innings against the Miami Marlins and Pittsburgh Pirates.
He is still trying to reinvent himself as a pitcher with the lost velocity, but if he’s able to put together starts much like his last couple — where control and offspeed pitches rule over velo — then he’ll be slated for a pretty good season.
On the other side of the city, the Mets officially named right-hander Dillon Gee as their Opening Day starter with Jonathon Niese going on the DL to start the year. Gee will be the 23rd pitcher in Mets’ history to start on Opening Day when he faces the Washington Nationals at Citi Field on March 31st.
Gee is coming off a solid season in which he posted a 3.62 ERA, 1.28 WHIP and 142/47 K/BB ratio across 199 innings.
Gee has been pitching pretty well for the Mets this spring. In his last start, he limited the Minnesota Twins to just one run over 5 2/3 innings, putting his spring ERA at 1.69.