Steady progress for Tanaka, CC, but no rush

Yankees content to give both hurlers work in simulated games for now

Steady progress for Tanaka, CC, but no rush

TAMPA, Fla. -- Masahiro Tanaka and CC Sabathia are continuing to progress toward game action, and the Yankees believe that both pitchers are on course to be ready for Opening Day.

Sabathia reported no issues following a 20-pitch batting-practice session on Thursday at George M. Steinbrenner Field, and Tanaka was scheduled to face hitters in a simulated game on Friday morning.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that Sabathia will have one more sim game and then could be cleared for Grapefruit League action. Tanaka has said that he feels ready to start, but Girardi said there is less urgency to test him against big league hitters than last spring.

"Last year, we were trying to learn [about] him, and he was trying to learn us and learn the league," Girardi said. "I think this year, it's just important that we do what we feel is best for him."

The Yankees have proceeded cautiously with both hurlers because of their injury issues last season; Sabathia was limited to eight starts because of a degenerative right knee condition that required arthroscopic surgery, and Tanaka rehabbed a partial tear of his ulnar collateral ligament sustained in July.

"These guys are going to compete and understand the work they have to get in, whether it's a simulated game or a regular game," Girardi said. "You can say all you want it's competition, but the competition you're going to face in April is different than the competition you're going to face now, because guys don't stay in the whole game and you don't get to go through all your pitches. There's a little bit more of an edge come April 1."

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.