TAMPA, Fla. -- As Masahiro Tanaka wraps up his first big league Spring Training camp and prepares to head into the regular season, the Yankees right-hander has already tucked one award under his belt.
The Yankees announced Saturday that Tanaka was the recipient of the 2014 James P. Dawson Award, given annually to the outstanding Yankees rookie in Spring Training. Tanaka received the award in a ceremony before Saturday's game against the Marlins was cancelled due to rain.
Tanaka, 25, went 2-0 with a 2.14 ERA in five appearances (three starts) this spring, allowing five earned runs in 21 innings. He led the team with 26 strikeouts while walking only three batters, permitting 15 hits.
"I do feel that I learned a lot throughout Spring Training," Tanaka said through an interpreter. "I think the important thing for me is not to stop here and keep learning as the season progresses."
Tanaka completed his spring by hurling six innings of three-hit ball with no walks and 10 strikeouts in a 3-0 Yankees victory over the Marlins on Friday. He is scheduled to make his Major League debut on April 4 against the Blue Jays in Toronto.
The award was established in honor of James P. Dawson (1896-1953), who began a 45-year career with The New York Times as a copy boy in 1908. Eight years later, he became boxing editor and covered boxing and baseball until his death during Spring Training in 1953.
The Yankees' beat writers vote on the award; Yangervis Solarte, who hit .429 this spring to win a roster spot, was the runner-up. In conjunction with the award, Tanaka will receive a watch from Betteridge Jewelers.