|ESPN.com: Baseball||[Print without images]|
TOKYO -- Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka has obtained a work visa and could depart for the United States as early as Sunday.
Tanaka, who signed a $155 million, seven-year contract with the New York Yankees last month, obtained his visa Tuesday and is preparing to leave for spring training, which starts Feb. 15, a member of Tanaka's support staff said Thursday.
Tanaka, who has been working out in Sendai, said he is in better shape at this point compared to years past.
The 25-year-old right-hander replaces the retired Andy Pettitte in the rotation and joins CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda and Ivan Nova.