Masahiro Tanaka
Baseball player
Masahiro Tanaka
Masahiro Tanaka is a Japanese starting pitcher for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles. Tanaka led his team to a championship in the National High School Baseball tournament as a junior for Komazawa University Tomakomai High School in 2005 and a runner-up berth in the same tournament as a senior in 2006. The Eagles' first-round pick in the 2006 NPB high school draft, he is seen as the expansion team's future staff ace.
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Yankees' Tanaka to Miss Next Start With Forearm Injury
Wall Street Journal - 5 months
The Yankees’ playoff chances took a hit Thursday when they announced that ace Masahiro Tanaka would miss his next start with what manager Joe Girardi described as a “slight, slight, slight” strain in his right forearm.
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Wall Street Journal article
After Daunting Departures, the Yankees’ Ace Finally Arrived
NYTimes - 5 months
No pitcher has started more wins for his team this season than Masahiro Tanaka. He has pitched his best since the Yankees traded away four stalwarts.
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NYTimes article
Yankees 5, Rays 1: Masahiro Tanaka and Gary Sanchez Keep Yankees Surging, to 7th Straight Win
NYTimes - 5 months
Tanaka matched his season high with 10 strikeouts, and Jacoby Ellsbury and Sanchez contributed back-to-back home runs in a win over the Rays.
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NYTimes article
Rested Pitcher Guides Yankees Past Twins for Second Straight Win
NYTimes - 8 months
The Yankees’ bats provided ample run support, but their starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka didn’t need it as the last-place Twins failed to muster much offense.
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NYTimes article
Staff Paces: Mets' Matz Is Fastest Pitcher in Baseball, Yanks' Tanaka the Slowest
Wall Street Journal - 9 months
In baseball’s mission to make games faster Mets left Steven Matz is a godsend. In fact, he often pitches to quickly for his own good. Meanwhile, no one takes longer to throw to a pitch than Yankees ace Masahiro Tanaka.
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Wall Street Journal article
Yankees 5, Athletics 1: Yankees Defeat Athletics for Fourth Straight Victory
NYTimes - 9 months
Masahiro Tanaka pitched seven strong innings, and Rob Refsnyder, a recent call-up, drove in two runs as the Yankees climbed out of last place.
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NYTimes article
Yankees 7, White Sox 5: Headley and Yankees Bail Out Tanaka Against White Sox
NYTimes - 9 months
After Masahiro Tanaka labored through five innings, Chase Headley, a pinch-hitter, delivered a go-ahead double in the seventh, and the bullpen held firm.
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NYTimes article
Baseball-Highlights of Sunday's MLB games
Yahoo News - 10 months
Highlights of Sunday's Major League Baseball games: Yankees 4, Mariners 3 Moved down to sixth in the lineup, Alex Rodriguez homered on the first pitch he saw as the New York Yankees beat the Seattle Mariners 4-3 on Sunday to end a four-game losing streak. Hitless in 19 at-bats, Rodriguez lined a pitch from Hisashi Iwakuma (0-2) into the left-field seats. Masahiro Tanaka (1-0) won the 12th matchup of Japanese pitchers while facing his former teammate from the Rakuten Golden Eagles in Japan's Pacific League.
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Yahoo News article
Tanaka unsure of status for Yankees opener
Yahoo News - about 1 year
New York Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka is uncertain if he will be ready for the start of the Major League Baseball season and plans to gauge his fitness in pre-season. The 27-year-old Japanese right-hander had off-season surgery to remove a bone spur from his right elbow and has not yet thrown from a mound as the Yankees prepare to open pre-season training with other clubs next week. "Can't really say," Tanaka said through a translator when asked if he would be ready for New York's April 4 opener.
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Yahoo News article
Yankees’ Masahiro Tanaka Has Elbow Surgery
NYTimes - over 1 year
The surgery on Tuesday, by David Altchek, was to remove a bone spur from Tanaka’s right elbow.
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NYTimes article
Yankees' Tanaka has elbow surgery, will return in 2016
Yahoo News - over 1 year
(Reuters) - Japanese right-hander Masahiro Tanaka had surgery on Tuesday to remove a bone spur in his pitching elbow and is expected to be ready for the 2016 Major League Baseball season, the New York Yankees said. The bone spur was pre-existing and dated back to Tanaka's stellar pitching career in his native Japan, according to the Yankees. "Typical recovery time includes six weeks of exercise and strengthening, followed by a throwing program," the Yankees said in a statement.
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Yahoo News article
Yankees Go Quietly in Wild-Card Loss to Astros
Wall Street Journal - over 1 year
Masahiro Tanaka allowed two solo home runs and the Yankees had no answer for Houston starter Dallas Keuchel as the Astros eliminated the Yankees and advanced to the American League Division Series.
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Wall Street Journal article
Tanaka shines in return from injury
Yahoo News - over 1 year
The New York Yankees' Japanese hurler Masahiro Tanaka showed no sign of rust in his first start in more than a month on Wednesday, throwing seven sparkling innings in a 3-1 win over Seattle. Sidelined for nearly six weeks by a strained right forearm, Tanaka returned to limit the Mariners' offense to one run on three hits. Tanaka, who hadn't pitched since April 23, struck out three of the first six Seattle hitters while beginning the game with two perfect innings.
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Yahoo News article
Yankees 4, Red Sox 2: The Rotation, an Unexpected Strength, Lifts the Yankees Over the Red Sox
NYTimes - almost 2 years
With Masahiro Tanaka out for at least a month, the rest of the Yankees’ starters have stepped into the breach.
Article Link:
NYTimes article
American League Game Capsules
Fox News - almost 2 years
Detroit, MI ( - Jacoby Ellsbury went 1-for-2 with two runs scored and two walks in the New York Yankees' 2-1 win over the Detroit Tigers on a cold Thursday afternoon. Brian McCann's RBI groundout in the eighth inning produced the game-winning run for the Yankees, who took the final three games of this four-game set. New York starter Masahiro Tanaka allowed one run on three hits while striking out six and walking two over 6 1/3 innings. Dellin Betances (3-0) picked up the win after tossing 1 1/3 scoreless innings, while Andrew Miller pitched a perfect ninth for his sixth save of the season. The Yankees, who went 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position and stranded seven, finished 7-3 on a 10-game road trip. Victor Martinez drove in the lone run for the Tigers. Anibal Sanchez got the start and gave up one run on one hit while striking out eight and walking four over 6 1/3 frames.
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Fox News article
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Masahiro Tanaka
  • 2015
    Age 26
    Tanaka was chosen by Joe Girardi to be the Opening Day starter for the Yankees. He made the start on opening day of April 6, 2015 against the Blue Jays, surrendering 5 runs in the third inning including a home run by Edwin Encarnación as the Yankees lost to the Blue Jays 6-1.
    More Details Hide Details On April 28, Tanaka was placed on the Disabled list with forearm and wrist soreness, this and his poor start to the season led many in the sports media to speculate that despite the recommendation of his doctors Tanaka should undergo Tommy John surgery. He returned to the Majors on June 3 against the Seattle Mariners, where he pitched 7 innings with 9 strikeouts as the Yankees won 3-1 over the Mariners. Tanaka's season ended with a 3-0 loss to the Houston Astros in the American League Wild Card game, in which he pitched five innings and allowed two earned runs. Tanaka was the only player to be chosen to the national team to play in the 2008 Beijing Olympics from the Eagles, becoming the youngest Japanese baseball player to play in the Olympics as a pro in the history of the event. He pitched in relief in Japan's first game against Cuba in the group stage, throwing one scoreless inning and striking out three. While Tanaka saw limited playing time as a middle reliever for the team, he recorded a .00 ERA and the highest strikeout rate of any pitcher on the team.
  • 2014
    Age 25
    On October 5, 2014, Tanaka and Satoda were seen attending a Morning Musume concert in New York.
    More Details Hide Details Morning Musume is the flagship group of Hello! Project, the same organization under which Satoda worked when she was an idol.
    In 20 starts of his first Major League season in 2014, Tanaka posted a 2.77 ERA with 141 strikeouts; however after his 2014 season there was much speculation by sports media and fans that Tanaka should have undergone surgery rather than rehab the injury as suggested by his doctors, this was mostly due to the belief that he would need to get the surgery despite the rehab program.
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    Tanaka returned on September 21 against the Blue Jays, receiving his 13th win of the season in the Yankees 5-2 win over the Blue Jays, he would only pitch one more time during the 2014 season; a loss to the Boston Red Sox in which he gave up seven runs in 1 2/3 innings.
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    After losing to the Cleveland Indians 3-5 on July 8, 2014, Tanaka began to experience discomfort in his right arm and on July 9, 2014, Tanaka was placed on the disabled list due to right elbow inflammation.
    More Details Hide Details An MRI revealed that his elbow had a partially torn UCL. At the behest of several doctors, Tanaka received a PRP shot from Yankees Head Team Physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad, and rested his elbow for 6 weeks rather than have Tommy John surgery to repair his UCL.
    Tanaka received his first loss in the MLB on May 20, 2014 as the Yankees lost to the Chicago Cubs 1-6; it was his first loss in any professional baseball league since August 19, 2012.
    More Details Hide Details In June, Tanaka recorded his 100th strikeout of the season, along with another complete game; losing his bid for a complete game shutout by giving up a two run homer in the 9th inning to former Yankee Robinson Canó, who left the Yankees in the offseason to join the Seattle Mariners, before striking out the final two batters of the game. Tanaka became the first Yankees rookie to win 12 games by the All-Star break and was selected to the Major League Baseball All-Star Game as a reserve for The American League. He and teammate Dellin Betances were the first Yankees rookie pitchers to earn an All-Star Game nod since Spec Shea in 1947.
    During an interleague game against the New York Mets on May 14, 2014, Tanaka recorded his first Major League hit off of José Valverde and pitched his first complete game in the Majors as the Yankees shut out the Mets 4-0.
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    Tanaka made his first Yankees home start on April 9, 2014 against the Baltimore Orioles where he struck out 10 in 7 innings but received a no-decision as the Yankees lost the game 4-5.
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    Tanaka made his Major League debut on April 4, 2014 against the Toronto Blue Jays and gave up a home run to the first batter he faced, ex-Yankee Melky Cabrera.
    More Details Hide Details Tanaka would received his first MLB win in the game; pitching 7 innings with 8 strikeouts in the Yankees 7-3 win against the Blue Jays.
    On January 22, 2014, Tanaka signed a seven-year contract worth $155 million with the Yankees.
    More Details Hide Details The contract contains an opt-out clause after the fourth year and a full no-trade clause.
    EST on January 24, 2014, to reach an agreement with Tanaka, who is represented by agent Casey Close.
    More Details Hide Details During the month-long period following Tanaka's posting, teams reported to be serious suitors included the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Houston Astros.
  • 2013
    Age 24
    Through the revised posting system, Rakuten posted Tanaka to MLB during the 2013-14 offseason at a fee of $20 million.
    More Details Hide Details On December 26, 2013, all 30 MLB teams were notified that the 30-day period to sign the 25-year-old right-hander began at 8 a.m. EST. Clubs had until 5 p.m.
    Tanaka was repeatedly scouted by MLB representatives during the 2013 season.
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    The lone loss came in Game 6 of the 2013 Japan Series, a 160-pitch complete game, and he avenged that loss as he picked up the save in the decisive Game 7.
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    Tanaka went on to win his second Sawamura Award as the Golden Eagles competed for their first Japan Series title. Taking postseason games into account, his 2013 record was 30-1.
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    It was his first appearance as a closer in the 2013 season.
    More Details Hide Details He ended the regular season with a 24–0 record and 1.27 ERA, tops in both leagues. He also became the second post-war starting pitcher with an undefeated season with minimum innings required for an ERA title since Shigekuni Mashiba.
    On September 26, 2013, Tanaka relieved to close the last inning.
    More Details Hide Details With a one run lead, he sealed the victory and the Eagles' first Pacific League title.
  • 2012
    Age 23
    Tanaka was engaged to Mai Satoda, former member and current supervisor of the idol group Country Musume and television personality, on January 26, 2012. They officially registered their marriage on March 20 of the same year. The wedding ceremony was held in Hawaii in December 2012.
    More Details Hide Details Satoda is also a fan of Momoiro Clover Z.
    This victory was Tanaka's 25th consecutive win, including his final four starts in 2012.
    More Details Hide Details It also eclipsed the longest consecutive winning streak for MLB pitchers, set at 24 by Carl Hubbell in the 1936 and 1937 seasons.
  • 2008
    Age 19
    Tanaka was able to make only 24 starts (as opposed to 28 in his rookie season), missing playing time because of both a brief rehab stint in the minors due to inflammation in his shoulder and his participation in the 2008 Beijing Olympics as a member of the Japanese national team.
    More Details Hide Details He entered the last game of the regular season against the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks with nine wins, looking to both earn his tenth win of the season and prevent the Eagles from finishing in last place. While he held the Hawks to no runs over nine innings, Hawks starter Toshiya Sugiuchi equaled his performance and Tanaka fell short of his goal of reaching double-digit wins. The Eagles eventually won in walk-off fashion in the twelfth inning, finishing one game ahead of the Hawks for fifth place in the regular season standings. Tanaka got off to an utterly dominant start to the season, pitching a four-hit complete game shutout against the Hawks in his first start on April 7, a one-run complete game win against the Chiba Lotte Marines on April 14 (his first career win against the Marines, the only other Pacific League team he had yet to record a win against), a three-hit complete game shutout against the Marines on April 22, and an 11-strikeout, one-run complete game win against the Fighters on April 29. The fourth win marked the 1500th of Eagles manager Katsuya Nomura's career and made Tanaka the first pitcher to start the season with four consecutive complete game wins since Satoru Komiyama (then with the Marines) and Shigetoshi Hasegawa (Orix BlueWave) both accomplished the feat in 1993. However, though he went 4–0 with a .50 ERA for the month of April, striking out 37 and allowing just 24 baserunners in 36 innings and winning Pacific League monthly Most Valuable Player honors for the first time in his career, he was removed from the active roster on April 30 with a minor shoulder strain as a result of fatigue.
  • 2006
    Age 17
    On September 25, in the 2006 NPB high school draft, the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters, Orix Buffaloes, Yokohama BayStars and Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles all selected Tanaka with their first-round picks.
    More Details Hide Details The Golden Eagles drew the winning straw, signing him to a base salary of 15 million yen, a signing bonus of 100 million yen and additional performance-based incentives, the equivalent of what a first-round college or industrial league-player would normally receive, on November 2. He was also given the uniform number 18, which typically denotes a team's staff ace in Japanese professional baseball. Tanaka was named to the Eagles' ichigun (Japanese equivalent of "major league") roster during Spring training of his rookie year, and made his professional debut on March 29 against the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks as the starting pitcher, but gave up six runs on six hits and a walk in 1 innings. Though he was not charged with a loss, as the Eagles made a furious comeback to tie the game up in the fourth, he was seen sitting in the dugout in tears after being taken out of the game.
  • 2005
    Age 16
    Tanaka led his high school team to a championship in the National High School Baseball tournament as a junior for Komazawa University Tomakomai High School in 2005 and a runner-up berth in the same tournament as a senior in 2006.
    More Details Hide Details Tanaka was the Eagles' first-round pick in the NPB high school draft and was the team's ace until the end of the 2013 season. From 2012 to 2013, he won 26 consecutive decisions, which broke an NPB record. Tanaka was born in Itami, a city in Hyōgo, Japan. He began playing baseball in the first grade as a catcher for the Koyanosato Tigers (a Little League team) alongside current Yomiuri Giants shortstop Hayato Sakamoto, who was then the team's ace pitcher and Tanaka's batterymate. Tanaka and Sakamoto hit third and fourth in the lineup, respectively. He went on to play for the Takarazuka Boys while attending Itami Municipal Matsuzaki Junior High School, being used at both pitcher and catcher because of his strong throwing arm. He was chosen to the Junior All-South Kansai team in his third year of junior high—the equivalent of ninth grade in the United States.
  • 1988
    Born on November 1, 1988.
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