The only people allowed inside the restricted area were the coaches, CC Sabathia, who was also throwing a bullpen session, and an unrecognizable smallish man with floppy hair, skinny legs and large shorts that loosely clung to him like oversized drapes on a window.
This man was in the middle of all of the action. When coaches approached Tanaka, the man was also asked to approach. While coaches gave instructions, the man hunched over to hear, and then spoke in Tanaka’s direction.
In what will certainly be a year of transition for Tanaka, a year of uncertainties and learning foreign customs, not to mention adjusting to life on the field in the American major leagues, this smallish unrecognizable man might turn out be the most important person in his life.
He’s Shingo Horie, a 39-year-old former television network employee who, as a translator, is tasked with turning everything strange in Tanaka’s life into something normal. He is asked to be a friend, sometimes a press agent, and also Tanaka’s liaison to his Yankee teammates.
No one in the Yankee organization will get to know Tanaka quite as well as Horie.
[Picture by Bags]