Tanaka makes splashy arrival as a Yankee

Tue Feb 11, 2014 4:06pm EST
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By Larry Fine

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Masahiro Tanaka got off to a flying start as the New York Yankees' latest big-money player at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday after a splashy arrival.

"Hello. My name is Masahiro Tanaka. I'm very happy to be Yankee," the 25-year-old Japanese pitcher told a massive news conference after donning a pinstriped Yankees uniform No. 19 in the exclusive Legends Suite behind home plate.

Tanaka flew in from Japan on Sunday with a party of six that included his pop-star wife Mai Satoda and two-year-old toy poodle Haru aboard a Japan Airlines 787 Boeing Dreamliner jet built to carry 200 and chartered at a cost of almost $200,000.

The right-hander, who possesses a wicked, diving splitter and who went 24-0 last season for Japanese league champions Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, signed a seven-year, $155 million deal with the Yankees.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman looked out over the packed assembly, dominated by members of the Japanese media, and beamed.

"This is big. This is something that would make The Boss (the late owner George Steinbrenner) proud," said Cashman.

"The Yankees are obviously all about trying to acquire the best talent. But he (Steinbrenner) also liked a lot of attention, and this certainly is. This is Yankee-big. This is Steinbrenner-big.

"As we welcome the newest addition to the Yankee family. Tanaka-san."   Continued...

Feb 11, 2014; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi introduces new right hand pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, during press conference at Yankees Stadium. Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports