Yankees' Tanaka impresses again in batting practice

TAMPA, Fla. — Masahiro Tanaka's second live batting practice session drew similar reviews to his first.

"He was great," said Francisco Cervelli, who caught the session Monday. "I was trying both sides of the plate with every pitch and he was able to throw every pitch in every count."

Tanaka, watched by a throng of coaches, including manager Joe Girardi and pitching coach Larry Rothschild, faced the right-handed-hitting Zelous Wheeler, left-handed-hitting Dean Anna and the right-handed-hitting Scott Sizemore.

"I was definitely impressed," said Sizemore, among those competing for an infield spot. "One, with his command and, two, obviously, with his stuff."

When Austin Romine faced Tanaka in his first live BP session Friday, a splitter went by and the catcher remarked that he had never seen a ball move like that.

Tanaka, 25, threw a handful of splitters Monday and the opinions were mixed.

"I saw it well," Sizemore said of the one split he got. "It didn't bait me to swing at it, but it was kind of down and out of the zone to start, so I don't think it was one of his best ones. But if it's like the rest of his stuff I saw, it's got to be good."

Anna saw a different caliber of split, calling it "really dirty."

"It's definitely tough to face him, for sure, with all his pitches and how good they are," Anna said.

Wheeler saw just one split and called it "really nasty."

Cervelli said Tanaka "threw everything," meaning curveball, slider, two- and four-seam fastball and, of course, splitter. The catcher joked "I need one more finger" for the signs.

"He looked really good," said Joe Girardi, who watched CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda throw live BP sessions before Tanaka. "His command was really good (with) all of his pitches."

The pitch most impressing Girardi was Tanaka's slider, which he described as "pretty sharp today."

Jorge Posada also took in the session, standing behind the batting cage.

"Although he is still working on his mechanics, you can see he's got the pitches," Posada told ESPNDeportes. "He is a player that will throw strikes. He looks comfortable on the mound and he has four pitches that he can use in any situation."

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