'15 debut doesn't go as planned for Capuano

Yankees lefty throws just 63 pitches before exiting in fourth inning

'15 debut doesn't go as planned for Capuano

KANSAS CITY -- When Chris Capuano limped off the field two months ago during a Spring Training start with what would be diagnosed as a right quadriceps strain, he knew that the official beginning of his season was going to be delayed. This was not the kind of debut that he had in mind.

Capuano unraveled in the fourth inning of the Yankees' 6-0 loss to the Royals on Sunday at Kauffman Stadium, charged with four runs and handing the ball over to the bullpen after just 63 pitches -- well shy of the Yanks' stated goal of 95 to 100.

"You have to continue to attack," Capuano said. "That inning, I was just not quite aggressive enough in making them earn their way on. That was the thing I'm going to take away from today."

Capuano had permitted only a single and Salvador Perez's second-inning solo homer before issuing back-to-back walks opening the fourth to Lorenzo Cain and Eric Hosmer. Kendrys Morales and Perez followed with run-scoring singles, and that was all for Capuano.

Omar Infante drove a run-scoring double to greet reliever Esmil Rogers, closing the book on Capuano. In three-plus innings, Capuano permitted four hits, striking out four.

"He has the ability to get people out; we saw that," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "As we know, pitchers walk a fine line. You can't give them extra baserunners. The two walks really hurt him."

With Masahiro Tanaka still working his way back from the disabled list -- he could start in a Minor League game for Double-A Trenton or Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Thursday -- and Ivan Nova still in Florida pitching in extended spring games, the Yanks will count on Capuano to improve his next time out.

"The first three innings felt really good, but I got a little away from my aggressive approach to those leadoff hitters in the fourth," Capuano said. "A big part of my game plan was to make them earn their way on, not issue the free passes. The two leadoff walks came back to hurt me.

"The two pitches I walked them on probably missed by an inch or two. It's a game where sometimes an inch makes a big difference."

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