Yankees Postgame Notebook: Tanaka and the Tylers dominate headlines in loss to Twins

TAMPA - Masahiro Tanaka's second spring start went a bit better than his first, but for the second time in two outings, it was one bad inning that got Tanaka in trouble; Tanaka sandwiched a weak groundout between two strikeouts in the first, but in the second, after striking out Kennys Vargas to open the inning, Tanaka allowed a double, a two-run homer, and then a single and a walk.

He retired eight of the last nine after that, though, and both Tanaka and Yankees manager Aaron Boone saw a lot of positives in Masa's outing.

"I think things are starting to come together; I think mechanics are still a little off here and there, but obviously, it was better compared to the first game," Tanaka said through translator Shingo Horie. "I'm not concerned (about the home run) at all; I go in there with a theme and try to work on things, and it's not like I would necessarily throw certain pitches for some of the homers I've given up."

"I really liked what I saw; I saw a lot of good breaking balls, I thought the split was pretty good, and the fastball velocity was there with pretty good command of it," Boone said. "We got him to 60 pitches through the four innings, and I thought he continued with what I've seen from him all spring; from the first side all the way to tonight, we think he's well on his way to where we want him to be."

Yankees pitching as a whole was very good tonight, but the best performance of the night may have been from Domingo German, who allowed just one hit and struck out three over three scoreless innings.

"He really does have good stuff. He's showing that he could be an option for us, and he's certainly very intriguing right now as a bullpen piece, because I think his stuff plays up there," Boone said. "But, at the same time, there's enough there that you don't want to squash him being a starter, either. That's something we'll have to continue to work through."

Unfortunately, the Yankees offense didn't provide much to back up the strong performance; the team had eight hits and three of them were from the Tylers: a solo home run from Austin that accounted for the Yankees' only run, and a double and a bunt single from Wade, the former of which almost accounted for a run if not for Ronald Torreyes' baserunning mistake.

"(Wade and Austin) are playing well, and showing you why we're excited about them," Boone said.

In the end, though, as Tanaka reiterated, spring results don't necessarily matter, as long as the process of getting them - good and bad - leads to progress for the regular season.

"I'm not looking at the results at all," Tanaka said. "Like I said, I'm just going in there with a theme and trying to work on what I need to work on."

A few more notes and quotes from a quiet Monday night in Tampa:

-The Yankees revealed that special instructor Reggie Jackson will undergo right knee surgery Tuesday, after falling and hurting his knee while out on a walk on Monday morning. Best wishes go out to Mr. October for a speedy recovery!

-Back to baseball, here's more of Boone on German, who has allowed only one earned run in 13 2/3 innings this spring: "We see an uptick in his fastball, a good breaking ball, and that sinker…from the side it looks like a split. He's shown very well, and shown that in a certain role he can be very effective."

-If spring results don't concern Tanaka, then there's no need to note his 10.13 ERA, because that's just part of the process: "Compared to last spring, even though the results may be different, I feel my stuff is better, actually."

-Boone was mum about Neil Walker pregame because his addition was not yet official, but now that it is, here's the skipper on what Walked brings to the table: "We had a really good player fall into our lap, essentially. He's a potent bat, especially from the left side, but also gives us the versatility we like. He can play second and first, and we'll even give him some looks at third to have that hopefully be an option on occasion. He's definitely a pro."

-So when will Walker debut? "We feel he's ahead of the game physically because he was in that (free agent) camp. He'll get a full day's work tomorrow and maybe stand in on some things, then maybe get some minor-league at-bats Wednesday…I could see him in a game maybe Thursday or Friday. We think that's where he is physically, and he should hit the ground running pretty well."

-We'll give the last word to Tanaka, this his thought on how the Yankees' additions this spring have helped the club: "I think we have a good team, and similar to last year, there was a good balance between youth and veterans. It's the same case this year, and I feel like we're in a pretty good place."