HOUSTON -- Catcher Brian McCann expects there to be an electric atmosphere when right-hander Masahiro Tanaka takes the mound for his first big league start on Friday at Rogers Centre, but he has been impressed by Tanaka's cool demeanor so far.
"From the first time you meet him, he carries himself very professionally," McCann said. "He carries himself [with the attitude] that he's been there and done that. He came in to camp, he fit right in, and he put up zeroes."
Tanaka signed a seven-year, $155 million contract with the Yankees this past offseason and enjoyed a successful first Spring Training. He went 2-0 with a 2.14 ERA in five Grapefruit League games (three starts), allowing 15 hits in 21 innings with three walks and 26 strikeouts.
After his contract was official, McCann was sent an iPad by the Yankees so that he could review video of Tanaka's starts for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles last season, when he went 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA.
McCann was impressed by Tanaka's splitter, which has been rated as world-class, but said that Tanaka has many more useful choices in his repertoire.
"He's got more than just the splitter," McCann said. "He can attack inside-outside with his fastball, go up and down, and I'm very impressed with his cutter and his slider as well.
"Guys that can throw any pitch in any count, with the stuff he's got -- definitely fun to catch."