CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Masahiro Tanaka pitched four innings, allowing seven hits but just one run, and a split squad of New York Yankees led the Philadelphia Phillies 7-1 Tuesday when the game was rained out.
The start of the game was delayed 40 minutes by rain and called after four innings because of lightning in the area.
Tanaka struck out five in his fifth outing of the spring. He ended his afternoon by striking out Freddy Galvis, then threw with pitching coach Larry Rothschild in the cage, reaching 90 pitches overall.
In his previous start, Washington tagged him for seven runs and nine hits.
Tanaka could be New York's starter on opening day against Houston at Yankee Stadium.
"I don't know where I'll be throwing, but I'm ready to go into the season," Tanaka said through a translator.
Yankees bench coach Rob Thomson, who managed the team against the Phillies, said it was important for Tanaka and all the starters to reach their scheduled deep pitch counts this late in spring training.
"It was good we got four innings in and then they could finish up in the cage," Thomson said. "I thought he looked better and crisper. I don't know what Larry told him, but, in my mind, I thought his stuff was better today."
Yankees manager Joe Girardi was with the Yankees' other split squad. He liked what he heard about Tanaka's outing.
"Better. I really want to talk with Larry. (Thomson) said his stuff looked better, more crisp. I really want to hear from Larry."
"His start in Washington, his stuff was not where we needed it to be. So I want to see if Larry thought his stuff is like it should be," he said.
Girardi wants hear more about Tanaka's outing as he plans ahead.
"Veteran players, sometimes at the end they kind of ramp it up," he said. "They know it's a long year. Older players, they don't come out like the kids, they just don't and you have to understand that."
"I just think he was taking it slow because of coming off the injury. Wasn't going to try to do too much too early. I want to find out," he said.
Tanaka had surgery in October to take out a bone spur from his throwing elbow.
Rothschild talked to Tanaka after the last start. They discussed Tanaka focusing more on pitching to his abilities and worrying less about reinsuring his arm.
"I had to agree with him, that what (Rothschild) was saying was right," Tanaka said.
Dustin Ackley hit a three-run homer and Miguel Andujar also connected for the Yankees.
"He's swung the bat very well all spring," Thomson said of Ackley, who entered Tuesday's game batting .325. "That's one of the things he does. He knows where the barrel of the bat is, and he hits the ball hard a lot."
Phillies starter Brett Oberholtzer gave up four hits in eight innings.
A day after signing a minor league contract with the Phillies, outfielder Will Venable batted leadoff against the Yankees. The 33-year-old Venable, who spent last season with San Diego and Texas, went 1 for 2 with a single and said he's not guaranteed a spot on the opening day roster.
"Not at all," Venable said. "I have no expectations. I'm just in camp right now. If it means I have to go to Triple-A and prove myself there, whatever it takes. I just know at some point I'd like to be here contributing at the big league level."
"I'll leave those decisions to them. But I'm happy to do whatever," he said.
In the third, Venable was tagged out at home when trying to score from second on a single by Darin Ruf.
The Phillies released veteran RHP Edward Mujica in a surprise move after the team indicated he was in contention to become late-inning help out of the bullpen. After spending the past two seasons with Boston and Oakland, Mujica was in Phillies camp on a minor league deal.
This spring, Mujica had allowed two earned runs, two walks and four hits while striking out seven in 8 1/3 innings.
SIMPKINS SIGNS UP
Wearing a red Phillies jersey, 14-year-old actor Ty Simpkins threw out a first ball. He has starred in "Iron Man 3" and "Jurassic World."
Yankees: RHP Ivan Nova will start vs. Atlanta on Wednesday. He will be making his sixth start of the spring and gave up five runs on five hits, including three home runs in his last outing. The Braves will start RHP Julio Teheran.
Phillies: RHP Jeremy Hellickson is set to make his fifth start of the spring vs. Houston. He last pitched Friday vs. Toronto and allowed two runs on four hits in 4 2/3 innings. Dallas Keuchel starts for Houston.