Masahiro Tanaka introduced at Yankees press conference

Koji Watanabe

Tanaka did not have much to say, but took the time to answer a handful of questions from reporters.

The newest New York Yankees pitcher was introduced at a press conference Tuesday as Masahiro Tanaka accepted his jersey and hat and answered a few questions from reporters.

Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman began the press conference by saying the team's signing of Tanaka would make the late George Steinbrenner happy.

"This would make The Boss proud," Cashman said. "This is Yankee big. This is Steinbrenner big."

Tanaka, 25, himself kept his comments brief during the press conference, giving a brief opening statement (in English) of: "Hello, my name is Masahiro Tanaka. I’m very happy to be a Yankee."

During the questions and answers portion, Tanaka opted for short, non-controversial answers to mostly softball queries. It got off to a sizzling start when Tanaka was asked how he felt about transitioning to the large baseballs MLB uses in comparison to the Japanese league.

"I just feel that it's very important for me to try to make that adjustment," Tanaka answered.

When asked if there were any specific players he was looking forward to facing, Tanaka said that he had "basically not faced anyone here" and was "basically looking forward to facing anybody." One reported inquired what Tanaka's goals were with the Yankees. His answer, naturally, was to win the World Series.

Tanaka did admit to talking with former Yankees' star Hideki Matsui, but that their conversation was brief. He did not give much insight into what they discussed. One reporter did ask if another team offered more money than the Yankees, a topic on which Tanaka refrained from commenting.

Tanaka appears pleased to be a part of the Yankees culture and excited for the atmosphere of games, particularly the team's storied rivalry with the Boston Red Sox.

"Just by watching over the television, you can see how intense the games are. I'm very much looking forward to that environment," Tanaka said. "I've heard that [New York] can be harsh at times. I just wanted to put myself in this environment and see where I can go with my ability."

The Yankees won the Tanaka sweepstakes by signing the former Rakuten Golden Eagles ace to a seven-year, $155 million contract, the fifth largest given to a pitcher in baseball history. New York is also paying $20 million to Rakuten as a release fee, bringing the total paid for him up to $175 million.

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