Masahiro Tanaka along with C.C. Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda are expected to pitch either two innings or 35 pitches on Saturday. Whichever one comes first. However, Tanaka knows that his first action with the Yankees is not about results.
“Obviously, I understand that some of the people are just going to look at the numbers of the game that I’m pitching in, but I’m not really too focused and worried about that,” Tanaka said.
Tanaka knows to not let the hype get to him. “It’s a part of spring training,” said Tanaka, “It’s not actually going into a regular-season game or anything. I’m looking forward to going out there and pitch.”
The $155 million dollar pitcher has been preparing for his start. On Wednesday, he worked in the bullpen. “I feel that I was able to build up and come out strong. I feel that next step is for me to go in and pitch in a game,’’ Tanaka said.
Tanaka’s signature pitch is the splitter, which is not a very popular pitch among Major League starters. He looks forward to seeing how hitters will react when he throws the signature pitch. “Obviously I’d like to check to see what the batters reaction is,’’ Tanaka said. “By that, there might become a time where I need to tweak things around.”
Not only will the media of two countries be watching, but the Yankees management and fans have been looking forward to the first action of the 25-year-old since being signed back in January.
Tanaka is coming off of one of the best seasons in Japan’s baseball history. The right-hander went 24-0 and posted a minuscule 1.27 ERA. It’s no wonder there has been so much hype surrounding the 25-year-old heading into Saturday.