4/9/2014 7:22 P.M. ET
Tanaka lavished with praise prior to debut
By Joe Lemire / Special to MLB.com
NEW YORK -- Prior to his first start at Yankee Stadium, right-hander Masahiro Tanaka received high praise from the opposing manager.
"He has really good stuff," Orioles skipper Buck Showalter said. "He's going to be a challenge. I thought it was the best acquisition of the offseason."
Showalter praised Tanaka, who signed a seven-year, $155 million contract this offseason after being posted by the Rakuten Golden Eagles of Japan's Pacific League, for his repertoire (which he described as having a similar breakdown and sequencing of pitches as Hiroki Kuroda) and for his age (25) and health.
Showalter said to prepare, the Orioles watched four of Tanaka's starts -- his outing last week in Toronto, one from Spring Training and two from Japan.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi was pleased with how Tanaka fared in his Major League debut, in which he allowed three runs (two earned) and struck out eight in seven innings to defeat the Blue Jays; all three runs scored in the first two innings.
"He really seemed to settle down," Girardi said. "I thought he made adjustments, and I think that's important. You have to see what hitters are doing to you."
Girardi noted that Tanaka has fit in well as a good teammate, and when asked whether Tanaka is prepared for the pressure and spotlight of pitching in New York, he said, "It's probably a little too early to tell that. Obviously, he's pitched in big games -- not necessarily here but in his country -- and there's been a lot expected of him and put on his shoulders over there, so I don't think that's something new."
Greene gets big league call from Triple-A
NEW YORK -- When right-hander Shane Greene got the call to the big leagues, he was already on the phone. Even though he didn't recognize the number, he put his parents on hold and accepted the second call. Good thing, too, as the voice on the other line belonged to the Yankees' senior vice president of baseball operations, Mark Newman, who told Greene he'd be joining the Major League club from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Wednesday.
"When I clicked back over, I told [my parents] the news," Greene said.
Even though it was a "dream come true," he said, his parents "were a little bit more emotional than I was."
Greene was the Yankees' Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2013 after going 12-10 with a 3.38 ERA and performed well in Spring Training, but even he was surprised by the timing of this call.
"I thought it was going to happen at some point [this year]," he said. "I didn't really think it was going to be this early, though."
Greene might not have been quite as surprised had he been tracking the news in the big leagues a little more closely and learned that closer David Robertson had been placed on the disabled list earlier this week.
Though Greene was a starter in the Minor Leagues, he will join New York's bullpen. In his breakout 2013 season, which was split between high Class A Tampa and Double-A Trenton, he said that a new mentality helped, which he described as an effort to "attack guys, throw strikes. Make them earn their way on base. Play the odds, really."
He set a personal goal of walking no more than two batters per game and succeeded, walking just 1.7 every nine innings.
With backup catcher Austin Romine optioned to Triple-A on Tuesday, there was room on the 25-man roster for Greene.
• After throwing 67 pitches over 3 1/3 innings on Tuesday, reliever Vidal Nuno probably won't pitch again until Saturday, Girardi said.
• With Romine having been optioned to Triple-A, Girardi noted that it may be a little tougher to play backup catcher Francisco Cervelli at first base, as he did for the first time in Tuesday's loss. If Cervelli were to start at first, Girardi would be less likely to remove him for a defensive replacement so that he'd be able to move to catcher should anything happen to starter Brian McCann.
Joe Lemire is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.