Are you sort of curious this season? I mean, I am the mother of a freshman son who attends Syracuse University, so of course I am! Syracuse is going to the #FinalFour and they weren't supposed to even be named to the tourney this year. So, actually, all bets are off for me this spring. I guess you really don't know what could happen; you have to be open to anything happening. So despite the headlines that Masahiro Tanaka has not been named as the 2016 #OpeningDay starter, I am open to it happening anyway. I mean why not? He has held his own this spring and his last start yielded a four-inning one-run, seven-hit, five-strikeout ball in a split-squad game against the Phillies in Clearwater.
According to ESPN on Tuesday, "Rothschild expressed the belief that Tanaka was "holding back,'' perhaps due to offseason surgery to remove a bone spur in his elbow. Both (Girardi and Rothschild) thought they saw positive signs in a subsequent bullpen session but without having seen Tanaka pitch against the Phillies, Girardi was not about to offer a judgment on his readiness to go in the opener."
I don't blame Tanaka for holding back, particularly after coming off of surgery. If Girardi and Rothschild decide that Tanaka isn't ready for Monday's #OpeningDay start, it is likely that Ivan Nova or CC Sabathia would take the hill. “It’s part of the job, things that a lot of managers have to go through this time of year,'' Girardi said. "You’re doing what you think is best. We always say that nothing’s final. We have depth here, so if we need to make a change, we make a change.”
Who's our opening day starter? Who's our starting quarterback? Who's going to win the AL East? Who's going to win the NCAA tournament? It's anybody's trophy to earn. So, don't be derailed by this little nugget that could make you believe that Tanaka is anything short of ready. Let's face it, every athlete is a little rusty at the beginning of his or her season. This is just one of those things. Don't make it more than it is...maybe I just did.
BYB Hot Stove Columnist
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