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SF Giants’ Kensuke Tanaka looks good in major league debut m

The San Francisco Giants fell to 40-49 following Tuesday night’s loss to the New York Mets and remain in last place in the NL West. As dampened a mood as it was, one of the positives was the major league debut of left fielder Kensuke Tanaka.

An All-Star and Gold Glover in Japan, Tanaka, 32, walked away from big money for a chance to play in the MLB. He was signed in the off-season from the Nippon Ham Fighters to compete for the backup utility role, but struggled in Spring Training and has been fine tuning his skills in Fresno since. Called up earlier today, he made the most of his chance.

Wearing no. 37, the number of Giants pitcher Masanori Murakami who was the first Japanese player in the majors, Tanaka saved an Andrew Brown home run with a spectacular leaping catch in the second inning that should make ESPN.

He also went 1-for-4 at the plate with a walk and run scored. Yet the best moment came in the bottom of the fifth when he hit a liner into center for his first major league hit. Smiling ear-to-ear he shook hands with first base coach Roberto Kelly who couldn’t help but be excited for a guy who’d worked so hard to accomplish his dream.

Tanaka then received a long standing ovation from the fans at AT&T to which he removed his helmet and in Japanese custom bowed in respect the fans.

“What a cool debut that was,” said Giants’ broadcaster Mike Krukow.

The teams’ woes continue and it’s not looking good, but Tanaka gave fans something to smile about on Tuesday.

via Giants’ Tanaka looks good in major league debut – San Francisco Sports |


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