Yankees to start Wang for Opening Day game against Toronto

Updated: March 22, 2008, 11:17 AM ET
Associated Press

TAMPA, Fla, -- The New York Yankees on Friday chose Chien-Ming Wang to start on Opening Day at home against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Chien-Ming Wang

Wang

Wang has won 19 games each of the past two seasons. The right-hander lost out on his chance to start last season's opener when he strained his hamstring during spring training.

"I think he's earned it," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said of the March 31 start. "He's thrown the ball well the last couple years."

Wang pitched in a minor league game Friday instead of facing Tampa Bay, a team he is scheduled to go against in the second series of the regular season. He allowed five runs -- four coming in his last inning -- and six hits over 5 2/3 innings.

Wang said his sinker had good movement, but that he got "a little tired" in the sixth, leaving the ball up in the zone without much movement.

Wang threw 60 of 89 pitches for strikes. He struck out three and walked one.

"Pretty good," Girardi said. "It was important to get his pitch count up."

Wang struggled in the playoffs last year, going 0-2 with a 19.06 ERA against Cleveland in an AL divisional series. He said it took a month to get over his performance.

"I'm glad it took him a month," Girardi said. "It told me he really cares. I think he will continue to improve."

Jorge Posada caught Wang, and went 2-for-3 with a walk. Infielder Chirs Woodward, slowed by a right hamstring injury, went 0-for-2 with two walks.

Yankees left-hander Andy Pettitte will pitch in a minor league game Saturday. New York is scheduled to play Toronto in the major league game.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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