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All eyes on Tanaka tomorrow (and he’s OK with that)

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Feb 28, 2014 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Masahiro TanakaTomorrow afternoon, Masahiro Tanaka will be limited to two innings out of the bullpen for a spring training game on the first of March.

His spring debut is not exactly going to replicate a playoff game at Yankee Stadium, but it will be his closest thing to real game since closing out the Japanese championship series in early November.

“Curious (to) see how he does,” manager Joe Girardi said. “His first outing, hopefully he keeps his emotions in check and that’s what you worry about a little bit, trying to do too much. Players a lot of times want to try to validate contracts. I’ve always said, (for) Japanese-born players I think there’s a certain amount of pride that they feel that they’re pitching for their whole country sometimes and that can be a little much.”

To his credit, though, Tanaka seems unaffected by all of the attention and expectation. Perhaps it’s all a facade — certainly there’s a language and cultural barrier that makes it hard for me or any American writer to have a great sense of what’s going on in his head — but all around him seem to have been impressed by Tanaka’s demeanor this spring.

Asked today if he is curious about his own debut, Tanaka gave a one-word answer that needed no translation: “Mucho.”

“I understand there’s going to be a lot of attention on the results, the numbers of what I do out there,” Tanaka said. “But for me, I’m not looking at it at all. I just want to go out there and pitch my style out there and see how it is on the mound. … Just want to go out there and pitch tomorrow what the catcher requests and see how things are.”

The Yankees have not asked that Tanaka significantly alter his pitching plan. They want to see how he does against major-league hitters and adjust from there. If his approach from Japan carries over with positive results, then there will be no need to fix something that’s not broken. His split-finger, in particular, has become a curiosity.

“I think you have to watch how hitters react in a sense once we get to games, but it has been an out-pitch for him,” Girardi said. “It has been really effective in Japan. His slider has also been really effective. But I think you have to see once he starts to face hitters and they see it a second and third time how they react to it. But I’ve got to tell you, I like it, and I saw how hitters reacted over there and it was a really good pitch for him.”

Associated Press photo

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59 Responses to “All eyes on Tanaka tomorrow (and he’s OK with that)”

  1. Blojaldo February 28th, 2014 at 10:00 pm

    I have complete confidence in Brian Cashman’s ability to assess and upgrade the infield and bullpen personnel, if necessary. I am certain that there is not a major league infielder, or a relief pitcher for that matter, that Cashman and his team are not aware of and tracking. I am also sure that he has talked to the General Managers for those he considers good fits and understands who is available and at what cost. He’s all over it and I believe he has been for months.

  2. jmills February 28th, 2014 at 10:02 pm

    Who is Frank Tanana?

  3. MTU February 28th, 2014 at 10:06 pm

    I have absolutely no concerns about Tanaka.

    He’ll live up to his billing.

    ;)

  4. Blojaldo February 28th, 2014 at 10:08 pm

    Name the California Angels’ 1st round draft pick in 1971 who had a 100 plus mph fastball, 34 shutouts and with Nolan Ryan anchored the Angels staff for eight years.

  5. Blojaldo February 28th, 2014 at 10:08 pm

    Tanaka san! Let’s get it on!!

  6. Pat M. February 28th, 2014 at 10:11 pm

    Fast Frankie Tanana, great heater who also had a great jump shot from the baselaine

  7. Ys Guy February 28th, 2014 at 10:12 pm

    this guy?

    http://www.autographwarehouse......ES8x10.JPG

  8. UpState February 28th, 2014 at 10:15 pm

    Didn’t Frank Tanana end up throwing about 75 MPH at the end of his career with the Mets & Yanks ?

    (gotta learn how to pitch once the heater melts away….)

  9. MTU February 28th, 2014 at 10:15 pm

    My only regret for Tomorrow is that MT will be third in line and only face a weaker lineup.

    I wish they had the entire regular squad against him so he could turn a few heads.

    But that will come soon enough.

    Most of these guys have never seen a Mr. Splitty like Tanaka’s.

    But they will remember it when they do.

    ;)

  10. Blojaldo February 28th, 2014 at 10:15 pm

    He was some athlete in his prime. Imagine facing Tanana and Ryan in back to back games? Digging in at the plate would be foolhardy and I guess success was measured by being alive at the end of the game.

  11. chicken_stanley February 28th, 2014 at 10:16 pm

    Upstate – big ACC game tomorrow

  12. MTU February 28th, 2014 at 10:16 pm

    Pat M.-

    Did you get drenched out there ?

    We’re getting it now.

  13. UpState February 28th, 2014 at 10:19 pm

    1975 :

    Wasn’t that the peak of the Chicken Stanley days ?

    That wasn’t a fair weekend when they had to face those two !!!

  14. Pat M. February 28th, 2014 at 10:20 pm

    MTU…..The second storm arrived earlier this morning and it’s been raining hard in a band like effect. However the real hard hitter comes in tonight and all through tomorrow…..It’s a mess

  15. MTU February 28th, 2014 at 10:24 pm

    Pat M.-

    I hear you. Mudslides, etc. ?

    You guys really need every drop but it’s always too bad when it all comes at once.

    We’ll get flash floods out this way when the big stuff hits. That is how it is in the desert.

    I usually get to watch the river behind my house go from looking like a stream to a muddy, roiling torrent.

    Pretty spectacular.

  16. MTU February 28th, 2014 at 10:27 pm

    Anyway, it about time for some shuteye.

    I’ll leave the chat to Pat and the rest of the night Crew.

    I’ll be back for the breakfast club.

    See ya’ then.

    :)

  17. Pat M. February 28th, 2014 at 10:27 pm

    MTU..I’m on the bluffs near the beach so all we get is neighborhood street flooding. But it’s a mess for those who live near the fires from last month….

  18. UpState February 28th, 2014 at 10:27 pm

    chicken_stanley February 28th, 2014 at 10:16 pm
    Upstate – big ACC game tomorrow

    ==========================

    #4 — Syracuse…….(26-2) -
    #12 – Virginia……….(23-5)

    Let the Fun begin !!!

  19. chicken_stanley February 28th, 2014 at 10:27 pm

    1975 :

    Wasn’t that the peak of the Chicken Stanley days ?

    —————

    I’d like to think chicken stanley has yet to peak! lol

  20. chicken_stanley February 28th, 2014 at 10:28 pm

    good night Mike

  21. UpState February 28th, 2014 at 10:29 pm

    chicken_stanley February 28th, 2014 at 10:27 pm
    1975 :

    Wasn’t that the peak of the Chicken Stanley days ?

    —————

    I’d like to think chicken stanley has yet to peak! lol

    =================

    Very much LOL !

    Great answer !

  22. jmills February 28th, 2014 at 10:29 pm

    MTU, let me ask you this, as a guy who likes succulents. How does Koufax go on 2 day’s rest with an arm like it’s going to fall off?

  23. chicken_stanley February 28th, 2014 at 10:30 pm

    #4 — Syracuse…….(26-2) -
    #12 – Virginia……….(23-5)

    Let the Fun begin !!!

    ———————–

    At the end of the day, it really only matters for seeding in the ACC tourney (regular season champs aren’t recognized by the ACC). That said, I agree – let the fun begin!!!

  24. MTU February 28th, 2014 at 10:32 pm

    Mills-

    Heroism.

    Grit. Toughness.

    Call it what you like.

    ;)

  25. chicken_stanley February 28th, 2014 at 10:37 pm

    Guys (and gals), been a fun night on the blog. Catch you all tomorrow

  26. austinmac February 28th, 2014 at 10:38 pm

    Imagine if they had TJS in Koufax day and arthroscopic surgery in Mickey’s. That is a great advantage today’s players have.

    Mantle’s homer off Sandy was the only good moment of the 1963 Series.

  27. UpState February 28th, 2014 at 10:45 pm

    MTU:

    “a guy who likes succulents”

    Funny stuff, Mr. Mills !

  28. Hankflorida February 28th, 2014 at 10:46 pm

    The Yankees had no choice but to bring in Ellsbury, McCaan, Roberts, Johnson, Tanaka and Beltran because last year the shuttle bus from the minor leagues was a disaster, and these FA’s were the pick of the litter. The Yankees championship teams mostly came before the draft was initiated, and
    they could stockpile young talent because they were the wealthiest team. I doubt if DiMag or Mantle would be in pinstripes under the old system until they became FA’s.

  29. jmills February 28th, 2014 at 10:56 pm

    Hi, Upstate and austin knows I’m cheering for the gifted, Goins. The guy can go out and get it nothing short of Belanger. Reyes can slap it around at short along avec me and my Rusty Staub’s orange haired Canadians :) 3rd b-man,…Laurie!. I don’t want to play Enncarnacion much at first ( – need his bat! ) Where is John Olerud and Dave Winfield when you need them ? Long liuve,….Paul Molitor!

  30. jmills February 28th, 2014 at 10:57 pm

    ” Long live “

  31. jmills February 28th, 2014 at 11:02 pm

    Adam Lind – he’s my first baseman. Baseball can suck on it. ” Live or let die “.

  32. chicken_stanley February 28th, 2014 at 11:35 pm

    Couldn’t sleep… got back on the computer and saw that Tim Wilson had passed. Funny, funny guy. RIP Tim

  33. UnKnown March 1st, 2014 at 1:22 am

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iczNuQ_ZTAU#t=48

    Happy Tanaka Time

  34. jmills March 1st, 2014 at 6:21 am

    After all that great Olympic hockey now I’m stuck with les Leafs. Viva Team Canada! I’m so glad I kicked abba on the larger ice surface. I didn’t need Sidney Crosby or a premium goaltender for that matter. Doughty was overwhelming. Who the hell made Selanne touney MVP? Idiots.

  35. Tackelberry March 1st, 2014 at 7:04 am

    Anyone remember the game in 76 when Frank Tananarive was pitching a 2 hit shutout against the Yanks going Iinto the 9th inning leading 8-0? Yanks erupted for 8 runs inthe 9th to tie the game. What a rally. Eventually lost the game in extra innings but what a memorable comeback that was.

  36. jmills March 1st, 2014 at 7:08 am

    It really is hard to witness all this crap aboot a full 4 days’ rest and a 100 pitch count when they get hurt anyways. Koufax had no curve and threw nothing but fastballs on 48 hours’ rest vs the Twins and Jim Kaat. 2-0 final win in the Twin city.

  37. jmills March 1st, 2014 at 7:12 am

    Jim Mason was the only Yank to hit a homer in the ’76 WS. He was selected by the Jays in ’77 but I don’t think he played a game. Hector Torres was the first Toronto guy to connect for a grand slam.

  38. blake March 1st, 2014 at 7:14 am

    http://www.people.com/people/mobile/article/0,,20791909,00.html

    Awesome

  39. blake March 1st, 2014 at 7:16 am

    http://www.businessinsider.com.....ace-2014-2

    This link might work

  40. jmills March 1st, 2014 at 7:17 am

    blake, couldn’t open your link on this bb.

  41. jmills March 1st, 2014 at 7:20 am

    I was never a big fan of Enya, but ” who knows where the time goes ” is a good song.

  42. jmills March 1st, 2014 at 7:27 am

    There’s a good chance I’m never doing the splits in outer space or visiting the pyramids on Mars. I like it here just fine.

  43. 86w183 March 1st, 2014 at 7:33 am

    Anyone remember the game in 76 when Frank Tananarive was pitching a 2 hit shutout against the Yanks going Iinto the 9th inning leading 8-0? Yanks erupted for 8 runs inthe 9th to tie the game. What a rally. Eventually lost the game in extra innings but what a memorable comeback that was.

    **************************************************************************

    Looked it up. Ron Guidry actually pitched in that game out of the bullpen. Mickey rivers was caught trying to steal second to end the 8-run rally. Angels won in 11.

  44. jmills March 1st, 2014 at 7:35 am

    The Yanks wanted to trade Guidry to Toronto for Bill Singer, but stupid Peter Bavasi turned it down.

  45. 86w183 March 1st, 2014 at 7:36 am

    How about three kids going yard yesterday? I know it doesn’t mean much, but it doesn’t suck.

  46. jmills March 1st, 2014 at 7:39 am

    I did have some fun in ’77. Lefty Jerry Garvin started 6 and 0 and was picking guys off first like crazy. I think he ended up losing 18.

  47. blake March 1st, 2014 at 7:40 am

    86w183 says:
    March 1, 2014 at 7:36 am
    How about three kids going yard yesterday? I know it doesn’t mean much, but it doesn’t suck.

    Blake digs the long ball

  48. 86w183 March 1st, 2014 at 7:40 am

    Was thinking about all the trades over the years and the one that infuriated me the most was Al Leiter for Jesse Barfield. Still can’t figure that out for the life of me. A 23-year-old lefty with a world of talent for a 30-year old RF hitting .234.

    Upset me more than Willie McGee for Bob Sykes, Jay Buhner for Ken Phelps and Doug Drabeck for Rick Rhoden.

    How about you guys?

  49. RadioKev March 1st, 2014 at 7:43 am

    Jacoby Ellsbury ranked #7 on ESPN’s Draft Rankings. They’re projecting:

    BA .288 R 96 HR 18 RBI 63 SB 45

  50. jmills March 1st, 2014 at 7:46 am

    Al Leiter won a game in relief vs the Braves in ’92 when that pinch hitter whose name slips me connected for a 2 run blast. Leiter left me later. Long live Jesse Barfield.

  51. blake March 1st, 2014 at 7:48 am

    I think that like is certainly possible for Jacoby if he can play 150 games

  52. jmills March 1st, 2014 at 7:48 am

    Ed Sprague. There, I coughed it up. His wife won a tainted gold medal in synchronized swimming.

  53. 86w183 March 1st, 2014 at 7:49 am

    Jacoby Ellsbury ranked #7 on ESPN’s Draft Rankings. They’re projecting:

    BA .288 R 96 HR 18 RBI 63 SB 45

    ***********************************************************************

    I’ll take that for each of the next five years!

  54. jmills March 1st, 2014 at 7:52 am

    Dave Collins set the Blue Jay record for most SB. I think Alomar surpassed it but I’m not exactly sure.

  55. jmills March 1st, 2014 at 8:02 am

    When we get Detroit and Milwaukee back and Tampa moves to Montreal, we’ll have a somewhat real division again. Cleveland and Andre Thornton are welcome of course. No wild card.

  56. 86w183 March 1st, 2014 at 8:10 am

    Dave Collins still has the record, 60 in 1984

    Robbie maxed out at 55

    the Yankees record is Rickey Handerson’s 93

  57. jmills March 1st, 2014 at 8:15 am

    Dave Collins and Barry Bonnel were a good platoon in left. Collins came here for Dale Murray and Bonnel was part of the deal that landed Joey McGluaghlin as well from the Braves for Chris Chambliss ( Jay for a day ).

  58. jmills March 1st, 2014 at 8:21 am

    Did I trade John Mayberry for Chris Chambliss?

  59. blake March 1st, 2014 at 8:46 am

    Ellsbury is really good when he can play….maybe he will learn to be more careful as he ages and stay on the field more.

    I’m really excited to see Tanaka today

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