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Yankees vs. Mariners Game Preview: Tanaka Time returns

It is Tanaka Time! Yes, you read that right.

Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

It is Tanaka Time! Yes, you read that right. Masahiro Tanaka will throw for the Yankees this afternoon as they go up against the Seattle Mariners. It is the last of a three game set, in which the Yankees can sweep today with a win.

Today is Tanaka’s first start since April 23. He is being activated from his stint on the DL due to right arm tendinitis and a mild forearm strain. Tanaka’s last rehab start was a tad shaky, throwing three innings while allowing three runs on four hits and two walks. But they call it rehab for a reason and the regular dominant Tanaka can hopefully be expected today. The last and only time Tanaka faced the Mariners he turned a complete game victory. He has faced the ever-raking Nelson Cruz in six at bats, sending him home without a hit. Robinson Cano has tagged Tanaka for a home run previously. It will be interesting to watch Tanaka in this first game back, as sort of a barometer for his and the Yankees future success.

On the bump for the Seattle Mariners will be Taijuan Walker. The 22-year-old is coming off an amazing start—certainly the best of his career. On May 29 the right-hander went eight innings against the Cleveland Indians, allowing only two hits and no runs. He also struck out eight batters. Walker only went past six innings one other time this season. With his career still in the early stages he hasn’t had the chance to face Yankee batters, this being his first go around with almost all of them.

There's no word yet on what the roster move will be to activate Tanaka, though all of Esmil Rogers, David Carpenter, and Jacob Lindgren appear to be at risk. (Joe Girardi has already said Chris Capuano is in the bullpen, so it's unlikely that he would be chosen.) Even though he has the highest potential, Lindgren appears most likely since he's the only one who actually has options right now, but Rogers and Carpenter have pitched so poorly that they don't have much ground to stand on. The long reliever Rogers is particularly redundant with Capuano out there now, too. (UPDATE: It's Carpenter.)

First pitch for today’s game is scheduled for 3:40 p.m.

Today's Lineups

Brett Gardner - CF Logan Morrison - 1B
Chase Headley - 3B Austin Jackson - CF
Alex Rodriguez - DH Robinson Cano - 2B
Mark Teixeira - 1B Nelson Cruz - DH
Brian McCann - C Kyle Seager - 3B
Garrett Jones - RF Seth Smith - RF
Didi Gregorius - SS Brad Miller - SS
Stephen Drew - 2B Dustin Ackley - LF
Ramon Flores - LF Mike Zunino - C
Masahiro Tanaka - RHP Taijuan Walker - RHP