Yankees in hot pursuit of perfect Japanese pitcher

Japan's Masahiro Tanaka pitches against the Netherlands in the fifth inning at the World Baseball...

Japan's Masahiro Tanaka pitches against the Netherlands in the fifth inning at the World Baseball Classic (WBC) second-round game in Tokyo March 12, 2013. (REUTERS/Toru Hanai)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:06 PM ET

The New York Yankees are set to bid for Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, a 24-year-old righty who impressed MLB scouts recently, according to the New York Post.

The Yankees are interested in filling Andy Pettitte’s vacated starting role with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles starter, who went a perfect 22-0 with a 1.23 ERA in the Japanese Pacific League last season.

“The Yankees have seen him a lot,” a talent evaluator familiar with the pursuit told the New York Post. “Boston, Texas and the Dodgers will be there, too. This guy is very good.’’

The price to negotiate with Tanaka is expected to fetch as much as the posting price for Yu Darvish, around $60 million.

“He is better than Darvish because he is a strike thrower,” one scout told the Post. “Overall, Darvish’s stuff might be a little bit better, but this guy knows how to pitch. He is like Kuroda, he has a lot of guts. He throws four pitches but when it gets to (stone)-cutting time, it’s fastball and splitter.”

TIGERS ADD COKE

The Detroit Tigers added left-handed reliever Phil Coke to their American League Championship Series roster Saturday.

Coke fills the spot of right-hander Luke Putkonen, who was left off the ALCS roster. Coke was not on Detroit’s AL Division Series roster because of a bothersome elbow.

Coke struggled this season, going 0-5 with a 5.40 ERA. However, the Tigers need him since right-handed reliever Bruce Rondon is still out with elbow problems.

DODGERS’ ETHIER SIDELINED

Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier missed Saturday’s game against the St. Louis Cardinals due to a lingering left ankle injury after playing in Game 1 of the National League Championship Series on Friday, which the Cardinals won 3-2 in 13 innings.

Ethier was replaced in centre field by Skip Schumaker.

Ethier is 1-for-8 this post-season with a walk.

RAMIREZ SCRATCHED

Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez was a late scratch from Saturday’s lineup against the St. Louis Cardinals due to sore ribs.

Ramirez was initially in the lineup, batting third, but was taken for X-rays before the game after feeling discomfort after attempting to swing a bat.

He was injured during Game 1 of the National League Championship Series on Friday after being hit by a Joe Kelly fastball.

Through five post-season games, Ramirez is batting .444 with a home run and six RBIs through five post-season games.

CARDS CHOOSE LYNN

The St. Louis Cardinals have tabbed Lance Lynn as the starter for Game 4 of the National League Championship Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Lynn picked up the Game 1 win in relief as the Cardinals edged the Dodgers 3-2 in 13 innings Friday.

Rookie Shelby Miller was also considered.

Lynn lost Game 2 of the NL Division Series against the Pittsburgh Pirates. In three career playoff starts, he has failed to pitch at least five innings.


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