Tanaka Ready For Fenway Park

first_imgTweetPinShare0 Shares ST. PETERSBURG, Florida — Masahiro Tanaka is well aware of what awaits in his first start at Fenway Park on April 22: The Green Monster and Boston’s fanatical fans.New York Yankees teammate Jacoby Ellsbury will also be returning to the ballpark where he helped the Red Sox win World Series titles in 2007 and last year.“I’m sure that the fans will be heated up a bit,” Tanaka said through an interpreter. “I’ve seen the two teams play (on TV), and I understand there’s a rivalry between the two teams. It should be a good experience going up on the mound that day and I’m very much looking forward to it.”Tanaka has a simple plan for the 37-foot-high Green Monster in left field. “I understand that if you give up flyballs, it might be dangerous,” he said. “So, I think the best thing to do is try to get as many groundball outs as possible.”Tanaka is 2-0 with a 2.05 ERA in three games with 28 strikeouts and two walks in 22 innings. The 28 strikeouts are the most by a Yankees pitcher in his first three career starts.Tanaka went 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA last year to lead the Rakuten Golden Eagles to their first Japan Series title, then signed a $155 million, seven-year contract with the Yankees.Jon Lester is slated to start for Boston. New York Manager Joe Girardi expects Ellsbury to get a mixed reception after leaving the Red Sox to a sign a $153 million, seven-year deal with New York.“You can’t think about what they’re going to do,” Ellsbury said. “You can really only focus on what you can do. Not worry about all that other stuff you can’t control.“I gave the organization everything I had for a third of my life. Nine years in an organization — drafted by them, came up and won two World Series. I left it all on the field.”last_img

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