TAMPA, Fla, (AP) -The New York Yankees on Friday chose Chien-Ming Wang to start on opening day at home against the Toronto Blue Jays.
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.
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