BOSTON - The Red Sox-Yankee rivalry is such that whenever one team does something, the other is inevitably asked to react.
So it was Wednesday when the Yankees signed Japanese righthander Masahiro Tanaka to a seven-year, $155 million deal.
"With all the reports that we have,'' said John Farrell, "they've signed a very good pitcher. We're going to see how quickly he transitions
to the major leagues here. By every account, he's a middle-of-the-rotation, top-of-the-rotation pitcher. With the other additions they've made in
New York, it just further strengthens the division as a whole.''
Farrell, of course, was the Red Sox' pitching coach when the Sox signed Daisuke Matsuzaka from Japan and was asked what lessons were learned from that experience.
"I can't speak specifically to Tanaka,'' he said, "but I think when a Japanese pitcher comes to the States, they're going to face some things
for the first time: maybe [additional] strength up and down the lineup; time zone changes; the composition of the mound; texture of the ball...
There's a number of things they'll face for the first time. This is a highly sought-after pitcher, so I think there's a high level of comfort that most teams had in their pursuit of it.''
Said outfielder Jonny Gomes: "People can go out and sign whoever they want right now. Boxing rules, we still have the belt; whoever else
Reminded that the Yankees have spent nearly $500 million in off-season moves including Tanaka, Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann, Carlos
Beltran and Hiroki Kuroda, Gomes joked: "That's flattering, right? [Brian] Cashman and [Joe] Girardi are about as professional as you're going to
get. They run a pretty tight camp. But it's kind of interesting -- $500 million and you still have some questions.
"You've got McCann, who hasn't been in the American League before; a pitcher who hasn't pitched a game [in the big leagues]. You've got some
guys playing different positions. But they've got some true professionals over there. And it's about winning the summer, it's not about winning the winter. [Winning during the season] is what we're going to try to do again.''