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Yankees’ Masahiro Tanaka is AL pitcher of month

June 4, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) — Yankees ace Masahiro Tanaka has been selected the American League pitcher of the month for May.

Still, the Japanese star says he’s not satisfied with his performance in the major leagues despite his success.

“On the mound, some of the stuff I want to do, I’m not able to do,” Tanaka said Tuesday through a translator.

Tanaka went 5-1 with a 1.88 ERA for New York in May with a shutout. He struck out 42 and walked just six in 43 innings in becoming the first Yankees rookie to earn the honor.

Using a devastating split-fingered fastball, Tanaka has quickly adapted to the major leagues after going 24-0 in his final regular season in Japan. The 25-year-old right-hander led the Rakuten Golden Eagles to the Japan Series championship last year, then signed a $155 million, seven-year contract with Yankees. New York also paid a $20 million posting fee to Rakuten.

Tanaka won his first six decisions in the majors to extend a winning streak in the regular season to 42 starts (34-0) before losing to the Chicago Cubs on May 20, allowing three runs in six innings.

Among qualifying starters in the AL with a minimum of 27 innings, Tanaka finished tied for first in wins, was second in ERA and third in strikeouts.

Overall, Tanaka is 8-1 with a 2.06 ERA in 11 starts. He has 88 strikeouts in 78 2-3 innings and only 12 walks.

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