TAMPA, Fla. – As dozens of cameras recorded his every move and perhaps 150 media watched on a cool and breezy morning, Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka slowly jogged four laps on the warning track around a back field after his first official workout with the New York Yankees.
The $155 million man looked spent. He might pitch great, but Tanaka clearly was not born to run.
“I actually didn’t know I was going to run this much,” he said through a translator Saturday. “And I’m a little bit of a slow runner. But that part I really can’t help.”
The right-hander, who has a seven-year contract, jogged onto the field with Hiroki Kuroda, 39, and played catch with his countryman, a pitcher preparing for his seventh U.S. season.
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Tanaka, 25, went 24-0 with a 1.27 earned-run average last year and led the Rakuten Golden Eagles to their first Japan Series title.
Cameramen jostled for position to capture his tossing in the outfield and his 32 pitches.
“As a player, I feel very honored to get this much attention,” Tanaka said.
After the bullpen session and fielding practice, Tanaka made the roughly one-mile run with Ivan Nova, Francisco Rondon and Danny Burawa.
“Probably what I’ll remember,” Tanaka said, “is the four laps that we did at the end was pretty hard.”
Mulder has torn Achilles
TEMPE, Ariz.– Pitcher Mark Mulder of the Los Angeles Angels tore his left Achilles tendon during an agility drill, cutting short his comeback and possibly bringing his career to an end.
Mulder last pitched in the majors in July 2008 for St. Louis and hasn’t won a big-league game since 2006. The 36-year-old left-hander, who has a 103-60 record, was hoping to make the Angels’ rotation after being invited in January to spring training.
Mulder had been working as a television analyst and was trying to make a comeback after retooling his delivery.
• The Angels are in negotiations on a multiyear deal with 22-year-old superstar outfielder Mike Trout, owner Arte Moreno told The Orange County Register.
• Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander, who had surgery on his abdomen last month, threw 41 pitches in his first official bullpen session of spring training and said he expects to be ready for the start of the season.
• The Cleveland Indians improved to 2-0 in salary-arbitration cases this year, defeating pitcher Josh Tomlin. The 29-year-old right-hander will receive $800,000 this year rather than his request for $975,000.
Last weekend, Cleveland won a hearing with pitcher Vinnie Pestano.
Teams have a 293-215 advantage in decisions since arbitration began in 1974.