It’s official: Masahiro Tanaka is now a New York Yankee.
After chartering an almost $200,000 private jet to fly his family to New York, the Yankees introduced Tanaka to the world on Tuesday afternoon. In the largest press conference seen in the Bronx since Hideki Matsui’s in 2003, General Manager Brian Cashman, manager Joe Girardi and two translators spoke to the media about the new number 19 for the pinstripes.
Cashman took the podium first, stating that this was a big move that would ‘make the boss proud,’ referring to the late George Steinbrenner. George’s son, Hal nodded in agreement with the statement. Cashman also said that the Yankees spoke with Tanaka before the start of 2013 and had scouts at every home game he started before thanking the Steinbrenners for fronting the money that enabled them to sign Tanaka.
Manager Joe Girardi then presented the jersey and hat to Tanaka. Girardi discussed the need of his club to improve the rotation and was grateful that the club was able to sign Masahiro.
Tanaka then took the stand, and said his first words in a Yankees’ jersey in English and all smiles.
Hello! My name is Masahiro Tanaka. I’m very happy to be [a] Yankee!
The first question was about the difference in the size of baseballs. Tanaka simply responded, “I just feel that it’s very important for me to make that adjustment.”
When asked about who he was most excited about facing in a Major League game, Tanaka responded by saying he was looking forward to facing anybody and everybody because he had not faced anyone yet.
Tanaka said that his primary goal as a Yankee was to win a World Series and feels that he is ready to take on Major League hitting. He recounted his first visit to New York as a high schooler, when the weather was apparently bad, but now has a much better impression of the Big Apple.
He was asked if he had reached out to any other former Yankees who had made the transition from Japan to MLB, and Tanaka said he spoke with Hideki Matsui over the phone on his integration. He is looking forward to playing in many Yankees-Red Sox games, citing that seeing the games on TV showed him the intensity of the rivalry.
Tanaka would not comment on whether any other teams offered him more money, but did say he welcomed the challenge of playing on as big a stage as New York.
Topics: New York Yankees