Tanaka lines up for Detroit finale as Yanks stay course

Yankees ace to start on four days' rest for first time this season as club rides rotation order

Tanaka lines up for Detroit finale as Yanks stay course

DETROIT -- After considering using a spot starter at some point in this week's series against the Tigers, the Yankees opted to keep their starting rotation intact for at least one more turn.

The decision sets up right-hander Masahiro Tanaka to start Thursday's series finale at Comerica Park, his first outing of the season on four days' rest.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi on Friday discussed the idea of using Bryan Mitchell, Esmil Rogers or Chase Whitley to give New York's other starters a little more rest. The Yankees are four games into a stretch during which they will play 30 games in 31 days.

After starting Opening Day against the Blue Jays, Tanaka had five days off before facing the Red Sox on April 12 and another five days' rest before his start Saturday against the Rays.

As it turned out, Tanaka needed only 85 pitches to get through seven scoreless innings at Tropicana Field.

"He's going to have to pitch on his normal rest eventually," Girardi said, "so we just felt that because of the amount of pitches that he threw and how he looked, it's probably a good thing to do."

Girardi left open the possibility that the Yankees could still use a sixth starter on their next turn through the rotation.

Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.