TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Masahiro Tanaka feels cheated by the Houston Astros.
Tanaka's Yankees lost to the Astros in a seven-game AL Championship Series in 2017.
Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred found the Astros broke rules against electronic sign stealing in 2017, including during the postseason.
"Yeah, I do feel that way," the Yankees pitcher said through a translator Monday after working out at the team's minor league complex.
Houston won all four home games against the Yankees in the playoffs, when the Astros players had the advantage of the sign-stealing system, and lost all three in the Bronx. The scores of the first two games were both 2-1.
"It's a competition, and the competition should be a fair competition," Tanaka said. “There was a little bit of thought of, was there something going on and once you hear the news, then it's like ‘oh, there was actually something going on.'"
Tanaka noted that the Yankees adjusted their pitching sign procedures in last year's AL Championship Series against Houston.
"We were actually being cautious about it," Tanaka said. “So, just changing up the signs, making it a little bit more complex."
Tanaka said it is difficult to say how the recent developments will impact how he looks back at 2017.
"You never know what would have happened, but at the same time you can say that what happened might not have happened," Tanaka said. "I don't know if mad is the right word, but it's something that's out of the rules. They're not, obviously, abiding by the rules."
Tanaka hopes the sanctions placed on the Astros will eliminate the situation in baseball.
READY FOR 2020
Tanaka had arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow to remove bone spurs on Oct. 23. When asked how he felt, a smiling Tanaka said "pretty good" in English.
"No restriction at all because we did the surgery right after the season was over and then we had a whole month of rehab," Tanaka added through a translator. "Actually, after I went back to Japan I was pretty much on the same program as I have been in the past."
Tanaka called the offseason signing of right-hander Gerrit Cole to $324 million, nine-year free-agent contract as "absolutely awesome."
"Definitely a huge plus for the team, and I think it will be a big plus for me as well," Tanaka said. "Just being able to see a pitcher of that caliber closely, see what he does, how he goes about his stuff. I think I will benefit from that."