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Baseball culture shock in Tanaka's future

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07:40 AM ET 02.10 | To be sure, Masahiro Tanaka will meet with some culture shock, even between the lines. When C.J. Nitkowski pitched in Japan for two years, his hips and knees were free of pain because the pitcher's mounds there are so much softer than the ones in the majors. ... He'll be throwing a slightly bigger, less-sticky baseball and trying to throw strikes in what some say is a not-quite-as-wide strike zone. After mostly starting once a week in Japan, he'll pitch every five days. He'll face lineups laced with power, a difference from Japan, where some hitters at the bottom of the order just try to make contact and beat out a hit. He'll also have to alter his mind-set -- in Japan, an ace is often expected to finish his start, even if his pitch count soars. In the majors, pitchers routinely come out much earlier.

New York Daily News

Masahiro Tanaka, Icon Sports Masahiro Tanaka, Icon Sports
February 10, 2014  07:51 AM ET

Not sure what the point is here, since a number of Japanese players and pitchers have preceded him. Some were successful, some weren't, so we'll see how this one does.

February 10, 2014  08:25 AM ET
QUOTE(#1):

Not sure what the point is here, since a number of Japanese players and pitchers have preceded him. Some were successful, some weren't, so we'll see how this one does.

All fair points. But at $155 million guaranteed, with a post 2017 opt out, Tanaka's performance and contract will be talked about ad nauseam.

Comment #3 has been removed
February 10, 2014  09:01 AM ET

in Japan, an ace is often expected to finish his start

He doesn't have to worry about that in NY. According to Cash he's a #3 starter.

Comment #5 has been removed
February 10, 2014  09:37 AM ET

The "pitcher's mounds there are so much softer than the ones in the majors" statement is interesting. I'm sure it's not the case, but I have this vision of them just dumping a pile of dirt on the field and not packing it down.

February 10, 2014  09:59 AM ET
QUOTE(#1):

Not sure what the point is here, since a number of Japanese players and pitchers have preceded him. Some were successful, some weren't, so we'll see how this one does.

It's only an issue now because it involves the Yankees. If this guy ended up with the Padres you'd never hear one word about adjustments.

February 10, 2014  10:00 AM ET

It won't be easy, but it will be worth it to him if he can cut it!!!!

February 10, 2014  10:01 AM ET
QUOTE(#4):

in Japan, an ace is often expected to finish his startHe doesn't have to worry about that in NY. According to Cash he's a #3 starter.

Everybody is expected to be "the Ace" on the day they pitch. What a ridiculous notion it is that because you're not the pitcher that starts the season on the hill that somehow less is required of you.

February 10, 2014  10:26 AM ET
QUOTE(#9):

Everybody is expected to be "the Ace" on the day they pitch. What a ridiculous notion it is that because you're not the pitcher that starts the season on the hill that somehow less is required of you.

Anyone tell Phil Hughes that?

February 10, 2014  12:29 PM ET
QUOTE(#10):

Anyone tell Phil Hughes that?

No, he missed that one.

Comment #12 has been removed
February 10, 2014  02:00 PM ET

It would be good to see hum make it in MLB (for his sake, not the Yankee's), not be a one season wonder like Dice-K.
But, he's coming from what is effectively AAA ball to MLB, with a huge price tag. It is questionable he is worth the money he is going to be paid.

February 10, 2014  02:19 PM ET
QUOTE(#7):

It's only an issue now because it involves the Yankees. If this guy ended up with the Padres you'd never hear one word about adjustments.

Lots more dinks on the Left Coast Yogi... easier acclamation...

February 10, 2014  05:10 PM ET

for Tanaka and the yankees team this is a new season as it will be a new challenge for the new pitcher in Tanaka ofcourse!!

February 10, 2014  05:59 PM ET
QUOTE(#2):

All fair points. But at $155 million guaranteed, with a post 2017 opt out, Tanaka's performance and contract will be talked about ad nauseam.

either Tanaka's performance to the fullest or get tossed out by the 2017 season plain and simple!!

February 10, 2014  06:07 PM ET

Why wouldn't it be any different for a player from Ethopia, with the exception for the less sticky and bigger balls?

February 10, 2014  08:32 PM ET
QUOTE(#6):

The "pitcher's mounds there are so much softer than the ones in the majors" statement is interesting. I'm sure it's not the case, but I have this vision of them just dumping a pile of dirt on the field and not packing it down.

That caught my attention too. I'm not sure if it's how packed it is, or the type/mix of clay they use, but I'm going to have to look that up.

Comment #19 has been removed
 
February 11, 2014  11:15 AM ET

Actually once he starts eating NY Pizza and Italian Ices, he will have no problem with his new Culture!!!

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