NEW YORK — Masahiro Tanaka throws a splitter that drops out of sight, ranks among the major-league leaders in many prized pitching categories and appears, so far, to be worth every penny the New York Yankees paid to sign him.
His place in those pinstripes? Tanaka seems to have a different take than most everyone else.
“No, I don’t feel that I’m the ace,” he said Saturday through a translator.
Tanaka shut down Joe Mauer, who was 0 for 4, and the other Minnesota hitters while lowering his AL-best earned-run average to 2.06, and Brian McCann lined a go-ahead double in the eighth inning Saturday that sent the New York Yankees over the Twins 3-1.
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Tanaka (8-1) permitted only an unearned run in eight innings. The heralded rookie from Japan gave up four singles, just two leaving the infield.
Tanaka struck out nine, giving him 88 in 782/3 innings. The 25-year-old right-hander is fanning more batters in the big leagues than he did back home before getting a $155 million, seven-year contract from the Yankees.
“It’s probably the guys here haven’t seen me,” he said.
• Boston second baseman Dustin Pedroia missed Saturday’s game against Tampa Bay with a right hand injury suffered in his last at-bat one night earlier.
Boston manager John Farrell said Pedroia went for X-rays earlier in the day, which were negative. He had an MRI before the game.
• Los Angeles Angels slugger Mike Trout was scratched from the lineup against Oakland because of upper back stiffness.
• Crane Kenney, Chicago Cubs president of business operations, said he has agreed to a five-year contract extension through 2019.