The Yankees have decided who their Opening Day starter will be, a process they had to go through again with the news that Luis Severino was shut down for two weeks with rotator cuff inflammation.
And though Aaron Boone wasn't ready Friday to publicly reveal who will take the hill on March 28 against Baltimore in the Bronx, the signs point to Masahiro Tanaka drawing the assignment.
Tanaka, who gave up two runs in 3.1 innings Friday against Detroit, is lined up to pitch that day and he has previous experience starting on Opening Day, having done so three straight seasons from 2015-17.
"Masa has clearly shown throughout his life, really, that he's really good in the big spot," Boone told reporters. "Certainly an Opening Day situation, he wouldn't flinch at it. He'd be prepared."
Tanaka's Opening Day results haven't been good, however. He allowed four earned runs in four innings and took the loss in 2015, had a no decision in 2016 after giving up two earned runs in 5.2 innings and lost again in 2017 when he surrendered seven runs in 2.2 innings.
It would've been a fitting nod for CC Sabathia as he enters his final MLB season, but he's working his way back from a heart procedure and knee surgery -- and he's suspended for the first five games of the season.
James Paxton was the Yankees' big acquisition during the offseason and they also re-signed J.A. Happ, but it appears Tanaka is the favorite to throw the first pitch of the Yankees' 2019 season.