It's Official! Masahiro Tanaka to return to Japan's NPB with former club Rakuten Eagles

It's Official! Masahiro Tanaka to return to Japan's NPB with former club Rakuten Eagles
28/01/2021
Tanaka is now a strong candidate for Samurai Japan National Team manager Atsunori Inaba to put on the 24-man Olympic roster for this summer's Tokyo Games.

Superstar and 2008 Olympian Masahiro Tanaka is heading back to Japan.

The Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) and Tanaka announced the blockbuster deal today, with media and fans exploding in Japan upon hearing the news.

The club announced that the 32-year-old right-handed pitcher will wear number 18 and that details about the deal will be part of a press conference soon to be announced.

"It is great to welcome back Tanaka in the season that will mark 10 years from the Tohoku earthquake and Tsunami," said first-year manager and former star pitcher Kazuhisa Ishii through the club's website. "He is a very special player."

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The Eagles drafted Tanaka out of high school in 2006. The hurler made his NPB debut in 2007 and played for Rakuten until 2013.

After leading the Eagles to a Japan Series title, Tanaka signed a seven-year US$ 155 million contract with the New York Yankees of Major League Baseball (MLB).

During his career Tanaka was named to both the NPB and MLB All-Star Games.

Tanaka represented Japan at the Beijing 2008 Olympics and the World Baseball Classic 2009 and 2013. He is now a strong candidate for Samurai Japan National Team manager Atsunori Inaba to put on the 24-man Olympic roster for this summer's Tokyo Games.

Photo: Koji Watanabe/Getty Images


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