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Tanaka says right elbow is fine, ready for the season after Yankees lose to the Twins 3-1

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FORT MYERS, Florida — Masahiro Tanaka gave up three runs in 4 1-3 innings Tuesday and declared himself healthy and ready for the season following the New York Yankees' 3-1 loss to the Minnesota Twins.

Tanaka struck out one and gave up a solo home run to Eduardo Escobar. He missed 2 1/2 months last season because of a small elbow ligament tear but has had no problems this spring, finishing with a 3.07 ERA in four starts.

"I didn't ever feel like we needed to give him an extra day or be cautious," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "He has never reported any trouble with his arm. I think that he's ready to go. We wanted to make sure that he's ready."

Tanaka is pleased with his preparation this spring, his second with New York.

"Obviously it wasn't the best pitching today out there on the mound," Tanaka said through a translator. "But I felt like I was able to work on what I wanted to work on in a spring game. I'm pretty much ready to go for the season."

Girardi said Tanaka's elbow hasn't been an issue in spring training.

"It seems to be an injury of 2014," Girardi said. "Obviously, there is a concern. But there are a lot of guys that have this and pitch real well. For whatever reason, some guys pitch a long time with it. And I'm sure there's a lot of pitchers who have it, and we don't even know about it. It's really hard to say."

Escobar, who appears bound to be the Twins utility infielder, went 2 for 4.

"He's had a real nice spring," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "It will be an ongoing thing to find ways to play him."

PHOTO: New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka delivers against the Minnesota Twins in the first inning during an exhibition spring training baseball game, Tuesday, March 31, 2015, in Fort Myers, Fla. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka delivers against the Minnesota Twins in the first inning during an exhibition spring training baseball game, Tuesday, March 31, 2015, in Fort Myers, Fla. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Neither team started many of its projected opening day starters. Brett Gardner went 1 for 2 with a walk for the Yankees.

Twins starting pitcher Tommy Milone allowed a run and four hits in six innings. He struck out five and walked two.

STARTING TIME

Twins: LHP Tommy Milone struck out five and gave up one run, two walks and four hits in six innings.

"The first three or four innings were a little bit of a struggle," Milone said. "I kind of went back and forth with balls and strikes. I was trying to get into a rhythm there. Luckily I was able to finish strong and throwing strikes with the pitches I wanted to."

TRAINER'S ROOM

Yankees: INF-OF Jose Pirela, out with a concussion since running into the center field fence in a game Mar. 22 against the New York Mets, is riding a stationary bike but has not resumed baseball activities. ... Fifth starter Chris Capuano (strained quadriceps) is playing catch and jogging, and will add agility drills this week. The left-hander could return in May. ... RHP Ivan Nova (right elbow surgery) threw 45 pitches broken down into two sessions off a bullpen mound and appears on target to be back in June. ... RHP Jared Burton (strained lat) is expected to throw off a mound Sunday or Monday. ... Yankees 1B Mark Teixeira, hit by a pitch in the right knee in a minor league game Sunday, and SS Didi Gregorius, who sprained his left wrist diving for a grounder Saturday, did not practice in Tampa on Tuesday. Gregorius is expected to miss Wednesday's game, while Teixeira is expected to return. ... Yankees OF Jacoby Ellsbury (oblique) is playing in a minor league game, his first in two weeks. He had five at bats and is expected to return to the big league lineup Wednesday.

Twins C Josmil Pinto, cleared to play following a concussion, went 1 for 3 with a home run in a minor league game.

UP NEXT

Twins: RHP Phil Hughes faces the Boston Red Sox and RHP Clay Buchholz, a matchup of opening-day starters.

Yankees: RHP Chase Whitley pitches at home for New York against the Tampa Bay Rays and LHP Jordan Norberto.

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Photo Gallery:
PHOTO: Minnesota Twins' starting pitcher Tommy Milone delivers against the New York Yankees in the first inning during an exhibition spring training baseball game, Tuesday, March 31, 2015, in Fort Myers, Fla. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
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