Masahiro Tanaka to make his Yankee Stadium debut Wednesday against Orioles
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Masahiro Tanaka's Yankee Stadium debut arrives Wednesday when he faces the Orioles, who pounded the Yankees 14-5 Tuesday.
It would appear Baltimore is ready.
When slugger Adam Jones, who finally found his home run swing for the first time this year with a two-run shot off Ivan Nova in the first inning, was asked about the prospect of facing Tanaka, he replied: "Why don't you ask Tanaka about me? I'm the one who's been over here in the major leagues for a while. Congratulations, he did it over there. Don't make it like he's the dirtiest guy in the world. He was 24-0-in Japan.
"At the end of the day, we've got to judge it off major-league hitters, not the Japanese hitters. We're a little bit better over here as hitters. There are going to be things we've never seen from him. But I think what would help us is the fact that we've seen [Hiroki] Kuroda a lot, they have the similar repertoire with the fastball and splits . . . [Tanaka] is going to have to make adjustments to us, we're going to have to make adjustments to him."
Tanaka wasn't around to respond to Jones. Before the game, the 25-year-old righthander said he would be ready for his official introduction to Yankees fans, who gave him a nice ovation in the home opener.
"Going through the ceremony, I felt that the fans are here to back us up, so unlike Toronto. It should be nice," Tanaka said through his translator. Tanaka struggled early against the Blue Jays, but pitched seven innings and struck out eight to get the victory in his first regular-season start in the big leagues.
"I understand what I did wrong Saturday, so I'll make those adjustments," he said. "I always tell this to you guys: For me, it's all about the mechanics of how I pitch, so I know what I need to fix going into the game."
Orioles manager Buck Showalter thinks Tanaka could have an edge since Baltimore has never faced him. "It's usually the pitcher's advantage," he said. Showalter laughed when asked if Baltimore bid for Tanaka, 25, who received a seven-year, $155-million contract from the Yankees.
"Were we in on him? Who was? I hope not, then we couldn't pay the other 24 players on our team. No, that's reserved for . I'd do it the same way if I was him, God bless him."
Tanaka has an apartment in Manhattan and spent his first full day at Yankee Stadium on Monday. "I got to see a glimpse of it when we came here for the big press conference back in February," he said. "I was able to take a much thorougher look at it and I just think this is a very nice facility." Much larger than what he was used to in Japan. "Just the scale of everything, the size of the clubhouse is much bigger here."