The moment Yankees fans have waited for has finally arrived: Masahiro Tanaka is slated to make his Major League debut tonight in Toronto as a New York Yankee. There has been some excitement from the fans to the media, but the only one who’s underwhelmed by all the attention is–well, Masahiro Tanaka, himself.
“I feel honored that I’m getting this sort of attention,” Tanaka said. “For me, it’s just going up on the mound and trying to get outs.”
Tanaka is a phenomenon back in Japan, but tonight starts a new era for him. Although it’s a new place with new faces in a new league, he’s seen all of this before. He knows what it’s like to be in pressured pitching situations and he knows how to be cool, calm and collected yet professional, which appears evident to Yankees catcher Brian McCann.
“From the first time you meet him, he carries himself very professionally,” McCann said. “He carries himself that he’s been there and done that. He came in to camp, he fit right in, and he put up zeroes. … He’s pitched some big things over in Japan — basically since he’s been 16, 17 years old. I expect (tonight) to be no different.”
Tanaka went to Toronto before last night’s game, but he isn’t letting the attention overwhelm him. All he’s going to do is go out there and pitch as if it was a normal game.
“I’m sure I will be amped up a little bit, but not to the point where I’m worried about that.”