Tanaka slated for first spring start Thursday

Tanaka slated for first spring start Thursday

Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka will make his first Grapefruit League start on Thursday against the Braves, manager Joe Girardi revealed in an interview on YES Network during Sunday's contest against the Nationals. The game is scheduled for a 7:05 p.m. ET start in Tampa, Fla., and will air on MLB.TV, YES and MLB Network.

The team has proceeded cautiously with Tanaka, who suffered a partial tear of his ulnar collateral ligament last July. But he has felt good this spring, throwing a 29-pitch simulated game on Saturday in Tampa, facing nine batters over two innings.

"Whenever, wherever they want me to go, I think I'm ready to go into a game," Tanaka said afterward through an interpreter.

Tanaka made 20 starts for the Yankees in his first Major League season, going 13-5 with a 2.77 ERA and making the American League All-Star team.

Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.