TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Masahiro Tanaka wants to keep on hitting and running the bases at NL ballparks, hoping use of the designated hitter does not spread to the National League.
The New York Yankees pitcher missed a month last season after hurting both hamstrings while running the bases during a June 8 game at the New York Mets.
The players' association has proposed extending the DH to the NL, a plan baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred says is too complex to consider for this year.
"I did get injured, but when you look at it I grew up where baseball was played by nine guys, meaning basically the pitcher would hit also, and I really enjoyed that baseball," Tanaka said Tuesday through a translator at New York's spring training complex.
Despite winning 100 games last season, the Yankees still wound up second in the AL East behind Boston. The Red Sox beat the Yankees in the Division Series and went on to their fourth title in 15 seasons.
"Boston had the upper hand last season but, hopefully, we'll get together as a team and then we'll take that spot this year," Tanaka said.
New York added starting pitcher James Paxton, reliever Adam Ottavino, infielder DJ LeMahieu and shortstop Troy Tulowitzki during the offseason.
"It's obviously a better team now," Tanaka said. "The additions, it's definitely going to help us out as a team. We have this good team now and I think that we have a real good chance of getting to where we want to be this year."
New York pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report Wednesday, a day before workouts start.
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