Igawa gets his first taste of the Majors

Igawa gets his first taste of the Major Leagues

Daisuke Matsuzaka did it for the Red Sox on Thursday. Kei Igawa plans to do it for the Yankees on Saturday -- make an impact in his first Major League start since coming over from Japan.

Igawa will make his debut against the Orioles at Yankee Stadium, planning to build off the numbers he posted this spring (2-0, 3.13 ERA).

The left-hander struggled with his control at the beginning of Spring Training but improved with every start, according to manager Joe Torre.

"I wasn't used to the game here, so that's why I had a lot of walks," Igawa said through interpreter Yumi Watanabe. "It was [my] first time pitching on the mound, that's the reason why [I walked batters]."

Igawa, who held batters to a .226 average this spring, said that he saw improvement in his changeup in his bullpen session on Thursday -- a pitch he often worked on during the Grapefruit League season.

"I plan to continue what I did in Spring Training and move forward from there," he said.

The Orioles send veteran right-hander Steve Trachsel to the mound for his first start of the season. Trachsel went 2-1 this spring with a 4.50 ERA in 26 innings of work, striking out eight and walking 10.

Pitching matchup
BAL: RHP Steve Trachsel (15-8, 4.97 ERA in 2006)
Trachsel will be making his Orioles debut in his first start of 2007. The 36-year-old won 15 games for the Mets last season and has a career 9-9 record and 3.58 ERA against the Yankees, holding the pinstripes' offense to a .227 average.

NYY: LHP Kei Igawa (Major League debut)
Igawa makes his first start in the Majors after a successful career in Japan that included three seasons as strikeout champion. Igawa posted a 2-0 record and 3.13 ERA in six spring starts, striking out 22 batters in 23 innings.

Player to watch
Orioles catcher Ramon Hernandez has always worn out Yankee pitching. He owns a .396 batting average against New York, with seven homers in 53 career at-bats.

On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television

On radio
• WCBS-AM 880 AM, WZAA-92.3 (Spanish)

Up next
• Sunday: Baltimore (LHP Erik Bedard, 0-1, 11.57) at Yankees (RHP Darrell Rasner, 3-1, 4.43 in 2006), 1:05 p.m. ET
• Monday: New York (RHP Carl Pavano, 0-0, 8.31) at Twins (RHP Sidney Ponson, 4-4, 5.24 in 2006), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Tuesday: New York (LHP Andy Pettitte, 0-0, 4.50) at Twins (RHP Boof Bonser, 0-0, 3.00), 8:10 p.m. ET

Caleb Breakey is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.