Even after Masahiro Tanaka began playing for the New York Yankees, it wasn’t uncommon to see him working out with a few of his former Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles teammates — some of whom would don Yankees hats — in Sendai during the offseason.

Tanaka spent seven seasons with New York, but his winter sojourns to Sendai made it feel as if he was never that far removed from Rakuten or Tohoku. And the seedlings planted during those training sessions reached full bloom Saturday, with an introductory news conference to officially welcome Tanaka back into the nest.

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