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Tanaka says he must ‘make an impact’ in the major leagues

Kyodo

Right-hander Masahiro Tanaka said Thursday he intends to make an impact in the big leagues

“I’m not going to be satisfied just by playing in a league over there,” the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles pitcher said at a pro sports awards event in Tokyo. “I need to make an impact and put up some numbers.”

Also honored at the event were pro golfer Hideki Matsuyama, who led Japan’s men’s golf tour in earnings this year as a rookie, and Yomiuri Giants captain, catcher Shinnosuke Abe.

Tanaka has won 28 consecutive regular-season decisions, went 2-1 in the postseason and earned the save in Game 7 of the Japan Series as the Eagles won their first Japan title by beating Abe’s Giants.

“I want to see him just keep going the way he is, taking on everybody, even over there,” Abe said.

On Wednesday, the Eagles said they will post Tanaka, and Major League Baseball clubs willing to meet the Eagles posting fee ($20 million maximum) will be able to negotiate with the pitcher. If Tanaka fails to sign a contract by 5 p.m. EST on Jan. 24, he will return to the Eagles for the 2014 season.