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Masahiro Tanaka says ‘I’m very happy to be a Yankee’ at introductory news conference

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Masahiro Tanaka, the newest member of the New York Yankees, was formerly introduced at a news conference on Tuesday. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, referring to the signing as both “Yankee big” and “Steinbrenner big,” introduced the pitcher.

After manager Joe Girardi helped Tanaka slip on the Yankee pinstripes — No. 19 —  and a cap, he perhaps surprised onlookers by making a statement in English.

Most of his comments were in Japanese and interpreted by a translator, but Tanaka did say the following in English: “Hello. My name is Masahiro Tanaka,” he said with a smile, according to a New York Daily News report. “I am very happy to be a Yankee.”

Tanaka has 155 million reasons to be very happy to be a Yankee after the team signed the 25-year-old Japanese import to a seven-year deal in that dollar amount, before he’s thrown a single pitch in Major League Baseball.

The phenom, who posted a 24-0 record last season with the Rakuten Golden Eagles of the Japan Pacific League to go along with a 1.27 ERA while amassing and 183 strikeouts in 212 innings, stated previously that the goal he has in mind during his tenure with the Yankees is “to become world champions.”

Hal Steinbrenner appears to believe Tanaka has what it takes to make that goal a reality.

“He’s one of the greatest in the history of Japan,” Steinbrenner said. “He’s got tremendous ability. We’ve scouted him all year. I know he’s mentally tough because he’s played on the big stage over there. He’s played in very big games over there. He’s going to be a great addition. He’s got the toughness and the ability; what more could you ask for?”

Good question. For the potential and success overseas to translate into victories here in the States. That’s one thing.

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