TAMPA, Fla. -- Brandon Drury isn't taking any chances with his opportunity as the Yankees' third baseman.Having been drilled on the left elbow in Friday's 5-0 Grapefruit League loss to the Red Sox, Drury said that he plans to begin wearing a protective guard when he takes the field on
TAMPA, Fla. -- Brandon Drury isn't taking any chances with his opportunity as the Yankees' third baseman.
Having been drilled on the left elbow in Friday's 5-0 Grapefruit League loss to the Red Sox, Drury said that he plans to begin wearing a protective guard when he takes the field on Opening Day against the Blue Jays.
"I don't like the feel of it, but it's better than getting hit on the elbow," Drury said.
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Drury left Friday's game shortly after being drilled by an 87-mph Christopher Johnson offering, which left him unable to flex his fingers. X-rays were negative, and Drury said there is no doubt that he will be ready for the season opener.
"I was excited to get that news," Drury said. "I couldn't squeeze my hand at the time. It was numb. I needed to come in and get some ice on it."
Adding the elbow guard is the second equipment change that Drury has made this spring. After arriving from the D-backs in a Feb. 20 trade, Drury requested a batting helmet with a face guard, similar to the one that Giancarlo Stanton has worn since a gruesome September 2014 beaning.
Drury said that he was grazed up and in once or twice while playing in the Minors, but nothing like Stanton experienced.
"The way guys throw these days, 98 [mph] up in the zone all the time, I just thought it'd be safe to cover my face up," Drury said. "I just didn't want to deal with that anymore. I just thought that would be smart."
Masahiro Tanaka served up a career-high 35 home runs last season, prompting pitching coach Larry Rothschild to challenge the right-hander to improve his fastball command this spring. Tanaka focused on that early in camp before unveiling his full arsenal in his final spring outing, in which he held the Red Sox to a run on five hits over 5 2/3 innings.
"The other pitches are much better when he's using his fastball," Rothschild said. "The arm speed plays into his split, it helps his slider. It's a mix of everything. He's able to pitch backwards, he's able to command his slider a lot. The slider is highly effective in different counts and even when he throws it for strikes. He's got a variety that he can use."
Rothschild said that the majority of the home runs Tanaka has surrendered this spring have come on mislocated fastballs. Tanaka was 0-3 with a 7.24 ERA in four spring starts, allowing five homers -- including a solo blast to Ivan De Jesus Jr. on Friday.
"We need to do some damage control," Rothschild said. "If we can eliminate some of those, which I think we can, obviously it's going to play into a better year for him. You don't want to take too much away from his pitching style, because overall the results have been pretty good. If we can do what he did the last month or two of the season and continue that, he'll have a good year."
Clint Frazier (concussion) is performing baseball activities, but there is no timetable for him to play in games, general manager Brian Cashman said. In addition, Albert Abreu (appendix) and Thairo Estrada (gunshot wound) are progressing and have experienced no setbacks.
• Jacoby Ellsbury will begin the season on the 10-day disabled list and remain in Florida, as the Yankees aim for him to gather 40 to 50 at-bats. Ellsbury missed most of Spring Training with a right oblique strain.
• Miguel Andujar will dabble with first base this season at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Cashman said that 80 percent of Andujar's action will come at third base, but that the Yankees are looking to increase Andujar's flexibility and versatility.
• The Mariners returned Rule 5 Draft pick Mike Ford to the Yankees on Saturday. The Yanks assigned the first baseman to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.