Kin, Okinawa Pref. – Masahiro Tanaka surrendered three runs over two innings on Saturday in his first action since returning to the Tohoku Rakuten Eagles from the major leagues this year.
Tanaka, who in January opted to return to his first pro club in Japan after going 78-46 over seven seasons with the New York Yankees, surrendered a three-run first-inning home run to Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters cleanup hitter Sho Nakata in the practice game in Kin, Okinawa Prefecture.
“I had a lot of different feelings upon being able to take the mound,” said Tanaka, who has not pitched in a game so early in the year since moving to the United States in 2014. “Every bit of it was a learning experience.
“All in all, I thought I did well. I threw harder than I thought. I was able to locate pretty well, and I’ll be fine if I can do that and get outs.”
Tanaka said the command of his breaking pitches was uneven, giving him something to work on for his next game. He allowed four hits in the first inning, but threw a 1-2-3 second.
“He’s still just preparing to go to the starting line,” said Rakuten manager Kazuhisa Ishii, who also spent part of his career pitching in the majors. “He’ll get four or five more games in which to make adjustments.”
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