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Yankees morning notes: Tanaka, Nunez, Murphy

Masahiro Tanaka on the first day of workouts at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
Wallace Matthews/

TAMPA, Fla. – Saturday marks the first official day of workouts for the New York Yankees, and the four starters assured of spots in the rotation will be throwing simultaneous bullpen sessions on the back field at George M. Steinbrenner field.

That means that prized off-season addition Masahiro Tanaka will be joining C.C. Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, and Ivan Nova to throw between 30 and 40 pitches to Francisco Cervelli.

One of his new rotation mates, Ivan Nova, was impressed after seeing him throw earlier in the week.

"Everybody's talking about the guy," Nova said. "When he threw a bullpen [Wednesday], I stopped to watch him. He's really good. It was a huge upgrade for this team."

Potential fifth starter Vidal Nuno will be in the second bullpen group, along with minor leaguers Bruce Billings, Danny Burawa, and Francisco Rondon.

Good news for Nunez

Other than catchers, most of the position player lockers are empty until they report next week. However, a select few have jerseys hanging in them, including Ellsbury, Johnson, Teixeira, Beltran, Jeter, Gardner, Soriano, Ichiro, and Ryan. Those names are all just about guaranteed to break camp with the team.

Also with a jersey in his locker is Eduardo Nunez. Could this be a sign that he is the favorite to head north as Kelly Johnson’s platoon partner?

Changing names

J.R. Murphy is no more. The 22-year-old rookie catcher who made his debut late last season is now listed by the team as “John Ryan Murphy.”

"I've always been John Ryan to my family," he said. "It was only a baseball thing that they shortened my name to J.R."

Murphy indicated to reporters that he was called John Ryan as a kid in order to distinguish him from his father, who goes by John Mark.

Dan is’s beat writer for the New York Yankees and the Trenton Thunder. Follow him on Twitter at @danpfeiffer74 for all the latest New York Yankees news.

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