The Yankees' shiny new acquisition, Masahiro Tanaka, who signed a seven-year, $155 million contract this winter, will pitch at home for the first time on Wednesday night.
Home is what Yankee Stadium already feels like for Tanaka, who is coming off a stellar season debut in a 7-3 victory in Toronto on Friday. Listening to the sellout crowd in Monday's home opener, Tanaka got to take in the experience under New York's bright lights, and he will take center stage against the Orioles (3-5) in the anticipated divisional series rubber match.
"If you listen to the crowd, yes, of course it makes me feel at home," Tanaka said through his interpreter.
"I got to see a glimpse of it when we came here for the big press conference back in February, but I was able to take a more thorough look at it yesterday, and I think this is a very nice facility."
Tanaka held the Blue Jays to three runs, two earned, in seven innings Friday, allowing six hits with eight strikeouts in his first big league win. He ended that outing with five scoreless frames, and he said he knows what he did wrong, without getting into specifics.
As for pitching in the chilly April air that can inhabit New York, Tanaka doesn't think that will be an issue.
"I'm not worried too much," Tanaka said, "just because I used to pitch in a city called Sendai, which is in the northern part of Japan, and it was usually cold around this part of the season, this time of the month."
Opposing Tanaka is Miguel Gonzalez, who is coming off a disappointing 2014 debut in which he allowed seven earned runs over 3 1/3 innings amid freezing rain in Detroit on Friday afternoon.
"It is early in the season -- [you have to] get that first week out of the way," Gonzalez said of his mindset. "A lot of guys struggle to move on. But you've got to have a short memory in this game, and just keep working. We all know that we have the talent and we are capable of doing better."
Gonzalez is 2-2 with a 4.01 ERA against the Yankees in his career, including a 4.25 ERA in five games in the Bronx. That second number is a little deceiving; he had pitched really well at Yankee Stadium until he allowed seven earned runs in four innings on Aug. 30, 2013.
"I like pitching here," Gonzalez said. "They have a lot of lefties. And my split works off of that. I think the confidence also, you have that confidence when you know you pitch well against a team you face a lot. That helps."
Orioles: Hardy getting better
J.J. Hardy, who has missed four of the past five games with nagging back spasms, was "a lot better" on Tuesday. He could start for the Orioles on Wednesday.
"I made big strides today," Hardy said after Tuesday's game. "I felt like I came in and really had a nice day, so we'll see. Hopefully we'll have that much improvement tomorrow morning. There's still a little ways to go, but that's kind of the goal for me."
The Orioles are optimistic Hardy will avoid the disabled list and return to the starting lineup in the next day or two. Without Hardy and third baseman Manny Machado, who is recovering from left knee surgery, Orioles manager Buck Showalter has employed an infield that includes Ryan Flaherty, Jonathan Schoop and Steve Lombardozzi, leaving no infielders on the bench and limiting in-game moves.
Yankees: Cabral arrives
The Yankees recalled left-hander Cesar Cabral from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Tuesday, replacing right-hander David Robertson on the active roster.
Cabral, 25, made one relief appearance for the RailRiders this season after pitching 9 1/3 scoreless Grapefruit League innings for New York this spring. He was in contention to make the Opening Day roster until late in camp.
"[Cabral] is rested, and we're seeing some pretty tough left-handed hitters this week," manager Joe Girardi said. "We feel like he can help us."
Cabral recorded an out in relief of starter Ivan Nova on Tuesday.
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.