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Tanaka not yet thinking about first MLB start

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TAMPA, Fla. -- Masahiro Tanaka is still more than a week away from throwing his first pitch in a Major League game, which explains why the Yankees right-hander's expression remains placid on the topic.

"Maybe it's that I'm not thinking too much, but right now I'm not overly excited," Tanaka said through an interpreter. "But as we get closer to the game day, I'm sure that excitement will come along."

Tanaka, 25, has been slotted as the Yanks' fourth starter to open the season, so his debut will come on April 4 at Rogers Centre in Toronto.

"I understand how good the lineup is for the Blue Jays, but once I get on the mound, I just have to try to go out there and do my best," Tanaka said.

After signing a seven-year, $155 million contract with the Yankees this past offseason, Tanaka said that he has been pleased with the transition process.

"I feel that I was able to come up here without any big issues or problems," Tanaka said.

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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