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Tanaka looks toward WBC after positive performance during MLB season

Kyodo

New York Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka gave his most recent season in the majors a positive assessment Wednesday, while saying he is keen to suit up for his third World Baseball Classic with Japan next March.

Tanaka set his MLB career-best with a 14-4 record and his 199⅔ innings pitched was one of many areas in which he set new personal highs in his third season in the majors.

But his individual success did not translate to wins for his team as the Yankees missed out on a playoff spot for the first time in two seasons after finishing fourth in the American League East.

“I believe I managed my best season since moving over there,” Tanaka said while visiting Kobo Stadium Miyagi, home of his former club the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, the Yankees’ poor performance meant “it wasn’t a satisfying season in all regards.”

Although nothing is yet set in stone, Tanaka is looking to a possible role pitching in his third World Baseball Classic ahead of his return to the United States.

The 28-year-old vowed to make up for Japan’s loss to Puerto Rico in the 2013 WBC semifinals that saw the team miss out on winning a third-straight title.

“There’s been no development (on the likelihood of my participation),” said Tanaka. “But of course I have the motivation (to make amends).”