Masahiro Tanaka
AP Photo/Seth Wenig

New York Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka was “surprised” to hear he would be named to his second MLB All-Star Game.

Geoff Magliocchetti

Major League Baseball announced three new participants for Tuesday night’s All-Star Game at Progressive Field (7:30 p.m. ET, Fox). Among them is New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka. The right-hander replaces Toronto starter Marcus Stroman.

Tanaka, 30, will earn his second nod for the American League All-Star team. He was previously nominated in 2014 which took place in Minneapolis. Unfortunately, a partially torn UCL prevented Tanaka from appearing in the game. He would be replaced by Koji Uehara of Boston. Along with Dellin Betances, Tanaka was one of the first Yankee rookie pitchers named to the All-Star team since 1947.

So far this season, Tanaka has amassed a 5-5 ledger to go with a 3.86 ERA and 90 strikeouts. His personal 2019 summit came on June 17 at Yankee Stadium. Tanaka would pitch a complete game shutout, allowing just two hits striking out 10, as the Yankees took a 3-0 decision in a crucial divisional game against the Tampa Bay Rays. He went 6.1 innings on Friday night against the same Rays in a no-decision. The Yankees won the game 8-4 in 11 innings.

Tanaka spoke with reporters about the honor prior to the Yankees’ penultimate game against the Rays at Tropicana Field. He admitted he wasn’t pleased with the way his first half went, and, as such, was “surprised” when Yankees manager Aaron Boone came to his locker to tell him the news.

“I never thought that I’d be selected,” he said, per NJ Advance Media’s Randy Miller. “I mean, you kind of look at your stats and things like that. I was making plans on what to do for the All-Star break.”

Prior to Friday, Tanaka’s most previous start was a brutal visit to London. He lasted just 0.2 innings against the Boston Red Sox, allowing six runs, all earned, after inheriting a 6-0 lead. The Yankees would weather the storm in a 17-13 win.

Miller said Tanaka had been planning to spend All-Star weekend with his family. He’s looking forward to partaking in the festivities this time after missing out on Minneapolis.

New York Yankees

“Things didn’t turn out the way I wanted them to and I wasn’t able to go there,” Tanaka said. “But this time around I get to actually go there and be part of the celebration. All in all, I’m very happy about it. It would be a great thing if I could actually pitch in the game. When you look at your baseball career, it will be something that I can be proud of.”

Five Yankees will now represent the team in Cleveland. DJ LeMahieu and Gary Sanchez will be part of the AL’s starting nine, while Aroldis Chapman will come out of the bullpen. Gleyber Torres was also tabbed as an injury replacement earlier this week. Saturday’s starter, CC Sabathia, will be honored by MLB in his final season, even though he did not make the All-Star roster this season.

The Yankees will play their final game of the pre-All-Star break slate Sunday afternoon against Tampa (1:10 p.m., YES/TBS).

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