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Tanaka gives up homer in NY start

CLEARWATER, Florida -- Masahiro Tanaka surrendered his first home run on Thursday in his first exhibition start for the New York Yankees, a rain-delayed matchup with the Philadelphia Phillies.

The 25-year-old Japanese right-hander struck out one batter without allowing a walk, surrendering one run on two hits and inducing seven groundouts.

In two pre-season training appearances for the Major League Baseball Yankees after signing a seven-year deal worth US$155 million (112 million euros) in January, Tanaka has given up one run on four hits while striking out four over five innings.

Tanaka ended the first inning in order by striking out Chase Utley, allowed a Marlon Byrd double in the second but did not give up a run and retired the first two batters he saw in the third inning.

Freddy Garcia followed with a homer to right field, tying the game at 1-1, but Kevin Frandsen grounded out to end the inning and Tanaka's time on the mound.

In all, Tanaka threw 25 of his 41 pitches for strikes.

The Yankees paid US$20 million to Japan's Rakuten Eagles after inking the deal. Tanaka went 24-0 for the Japan Series champions last year.

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New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka throws a pitch during the second inning of an exhibition baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies in Clearwater, Florida on Thursday, March 6. (AP)

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