TAMPA, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 26: Masahiro Tanaka #19 of the New York Yankees delivers a pitch in the second inning during the spring training game against the Washington Nationals at Steinbrenner Field on February 26, 2020 in Tampa, Florida.
(Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)

New York Yankees right-handed pitcher Masahiro Tanaka has returned to Japan over the fear of contracting COVID-19.

New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka took to Twitter on Thursday to announce that he and his family have returned to Japan, his home country. This is due to concerns regarding the potential contraction of COVID-19.

Since the decision to delay the 2020 MLB season, Tanaka had been in Florida, the Yankees spring training home. But apparently, he’s been in Japan since the end of March. This is because he felt his wife and two children were in “danger” of contracting the virus. Tanaka noted in his post that while in Florida after the season’s suspension, an event occurred that began to worry him. This is why he left for Japan.

Via Google Translate, these tweets translate to:

“As mentioned in some reports, she returned to Japan with her family in late March. As we enter Japan from the United States, where the infection of the new coronavirus is spreading, we have no symptoms at present, but can we still infect anyone without knowing it? Isn’t the family infected on the contrary?

“There were various thoughts. However, while living in the campsite Florida after the camp was interrupted, there was an event that made me feel danger besides the infection with the new coronavirus, so I decided to return home with due care. We are currently waiting at home for two weeks, as requested by the Japanese government.

“As a foreign immigrant, I want to take responsible actions.”

The Japanese government asks that those coming from abroad self-quarantine for 14 days — exactly what Tanaka and his family are doing now. This is so they don’t potentially pass the virus on to others. The good news is that neither Tanaka nor any other family member is showing any symptoms of the disease.

Tanaka, 31, was going to have quite the burden on his shoulders had the season begun on time. With the Yankees pitching staff depleted due to injury, Tanaka was likely going to be the team’s No. 2 starter behind the newly signed Gerrit Cole. More importantly, he was going to have to be excellent considering the ballclub’s other starting options weren’t exactly ideal.

Some of Tanaka’s pressure may be alleviated since James Paxton will probably be healthy and ready to go by the time the season finally commences. Nonetheless, everyone will need to step up in the absence of Luis Severino.

Tanaka will be a free agent at the end of the 2020 season, so his long-term future in the Bronx is still unclear.

Leen has written about the MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL, and international soccer. She is currently the primary NHL writer for ESNY. Leen's work has been featured on Bleacher Report and she was formerly a contributor for FanSided's New York Mets blog, Rising Apple. She is a co-host of the Yankees-Mets Express podcast.