Gen Sueyoshi of Yakyu Baka just passed along reports from Nikkan Sports & Daily Sports Online. Masahiro Tanaka has arrived back in Japan. He came on a flight from Los Angeles to Narita Airport. He did not speak to the media.
While in the United States, Tanaka was reportedly examined by one of the finest sports physicians in the world, Dr. Frank Jobe, at the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic. Results of that examination have not been released at this time.
Tanaka also had a series of meetings with Major League Baseball teams. A sizable list of potential suitors were confirmed as having met, listed as being in touch, or at least rumored to be wanting a meeting during his visit. Before long, it should be clear who met with him and who did not.
The Chicago White Sox confirmed that manager Robin Ventura, general manager Rick Hahn, and executive vice president Ken Williams all met with Tanaka in Los Angeles on Thursday. According to Sponichi, Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf was also in California to attend the meeting. The team released a statement from Hahn that described it as “an opportunity to discuss how he potentially fits our vision for the next several seasons.”
Owner of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Ken Kendrick, and general manager Kevin Towers reportedly had a meeting with Tanaka. Nikkan Sports also reported that he may have been offered the number 18 for his jersey.
That same article said that the owner of the Chicago Cubs, Tom Ricketts, along with president Theo Epstein, general manager Jed Hoyer, and manager Rick Renteria all sat down with Tanaka. The presentation may have included video of the Friendly Confines.
The Los Angeles Dodgers have not been terribly shy about their interest. “I talked to Casey [Close] as soon as they announced he was going to be posted,” general manager Ned Colletti said on Wednesday. Details of a specific meeting have not been reported, but it’s easy to assume that the Trolley Dodgers made a good pitch.
No word at this point if any specific teams were rebuffed or skipped in the process, but John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle heard from someone that Tanaka had a preferred list of only three cities: Los Angeles, New York and Boston.