New York Yankees catching prospect Kyle Higashioka has learned Japanese, helping him communicate better with ace Masahiro Tanaka.
New York Yankees catching prospect Kyle Higashioka took some time this offseason to learn the Japanese language, which is a part of his family’s roots.
“My dad has always been pressing me to learn,” said Higashioka. “This spring, finally, I thought maybe I should try.”
This not only helps him connect to his family roots, but learning Japanese also helps Higashioka communicate with Yankees ace Masahiro Tanaka.
The 26-year old was able to learn how to say all of Tanaka’s pitches in his native language as well as being able to tell him where to locate them.
This should help the chemistry between the two tremendously, especially considering Higashioka could find himself catching Tanaka in the Bronx sometime in 2017.
“Everything how that culture works is quite different than American,” Higashioka said. “It’s cool to see the difference between Tanaka and the rest of the American guys. It’s real interesting and something I’m curious about.”
The catcher is currently giving it all in spring training to prove himself as the backup catcher to begin the 2017 season and he’s doing a pretty good job. He has four hits in seven at-bats, which includes a long home run.
Hopefully for Higashioka, he is able to put his newly learned language into use in 2017 and communicate with Masahiro Tanaka in the Bronx.