On July 6, Tanaka was named to the 2019 Major League Baseball All-Star Game as an injury replacement for Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Marcus Stroman.  July 25 against the Red Sox turned out to be Tanaka's worst outing in professional baseball, as he allowed 7 runs in the first inning and 5 more in the third inning, bringing his total to 12 runs, the most he allowed in a single start, while only retiring 10 hitters (4 strikeouts). It was also the most earned runs allowed by a Yankees pitcher since 1923.
 In the second half of 2016, Tanaka pitched to an 8–2 record and a 2. 83 ERA in 13 games, throwing 82+2⁄3 innings and striking out 72.  In 2016, Tanaka made a career-high 31 starts and avoided a disabled list stint for the first time in his MLB career. He finished the year pitching 199+2⁄3 innings with a 14–4 record, 165 strikeouts and a 3.
 Tanaka allowed one run over five innings in the 2019 ALDS. In Game 1 of the 2019 ALCS, Tanaka allowed one hit over six innings against the Astros.  On October 24, Tanaka underwent right elbow surgery to remove bone spurs. 2020 On July 4, 2020, in a Yankees simulated game, Tanaka was struck in the head by a line drive off of the bat of Giancarlo Stanton and suffered a mild concussion.  Despite this, Tanaka was able to make his first start on August 1 against the Red Sox, where he went 2+2⁄3 innings, giving up two runs, and striking out 3. The Yankees won 5-2.  Tanaka finished the year with a 3-3 record and 3.
 He missed only one start. On August 27, Tanaka earned his tenth win of the season against the Seattle Mariners, making him the first Japanese pitcher in MLB history to have double-digit wins in all of his first four seasons.  On September 29 against the Blue Jays, his final start of the regular season, Tanaka again set a new career-high by striking out 15 batters, tied with Stephen Strasburg for the most single-game strikeouts in 2017.  In 30 starts of 2017, he finished the year with a 13–12 record, a 4.
56 ERA in 10 appearances. Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles (second stint) On January 28, 2021, Tanaka agreed to a two-year contract to return to the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball. The deal was worth 900 million yen ($8. 6 million) a year with additional incentives, making him the highest-paid player in NPB history.  His uniform number is 18.  International career 2008 Olympics Tanaka was the only player to be chosen to the national team to play in the 2008 Beijing Olympics from the Eagles, becoming the youngest Japanese baseball player to play in the Olympics as a pro in the history of the event. He pitched in relief in Japan's first game against Cuba in the group stage, throwing one scoreless inning and striking out three.
 2018 Tanaka's first start of 2018 went smoothly as he retired 13 batters in a row, struck out eight, and allowed one run, which was a solo homer by Randal Grichuk in 6+ innings as the Yankees won 4–2.  While playing at Citi Field against the Mets on June 8, Tanaka scored his first career run after a sacrifice fly from Aaron Judge, but shortly after, he left the game after his hamstrings grew stiff. The next day, on June 9, Tanaka wound up on the 10-day disabled list due to mild strains in both hamstrings.
 Tanaka's season started slowly until pitching a complete game shutout against the Red Sox on April 27, the second of his career.  Tanaka's shutout was notable in that he only threw 97 pitches, pitching what is colloquially referred to as a "Maddux" (a complete-game shutout with fewer than 100 pitches), the first by any pitcher in the 2017 season.  Tanaka allowed more than three earned runs only once in the six starts after his Opening Day debacle, lowering his ERA to 4. 36 by May 8.  Tanaka pitching for the Yankees in 2015 Tanaka was scheduled to start in Game 2 of the May 14 doubleheader against the Houston Astros, notable for being the same game in which Derek Jeter would have his number retired in a pregame ceremony.
 Tanaka, already a highly coveted talent by NPB scouts, was chosen to the Japanese team that would play in the IBAF AAA World Junior Championships following the tournament and contributed to the team's title.  Now given the uniform number 1 and officially appointed the team's ace pitcher,  Tanaka led Tomakomai High to a regional title as well as a championship in the Meiji Jingu Tournament that fall, hitting home runs in four straight games in the latter himself.
This was Tanaka's first opening day victory.  On 17 June Tanaka threw a complete game two-hit shutout and made 10 strikeouts in the Yankees’ 3-0 victory against Rays on Monday evening at Yankee Stadium.  On June 29, against the Red Sox at London Stadium, Tanaka allowed 6 runs in the first inning, and was lifted after 2 outs. It was the first time in his career that he could not complete an inning while starting, but nevertheless, the Yankees won 17-13.
While his team was viewed as the favorite[by whom? ] going into the 78th National High School Baseball Invitational Tournament to be held the following spring, Tomakomai High was forced to withdraw from the tournament because of allegations of misconduct of some of the players.  Summer 2006 Scoreboard at Koshien Stadium in finals rematch Tomakomai High earned a berth in the 88th National High School Baseball Championship that summer. Tanaka managed to lead them to their third consecutive appearance in the tournament finals despite being ill prior to the tournament.  The team's coach did not start Tanaka in the finals against Waseda Jitsugyo High School (an affiliate school of Waseda University), opting to rest him due to the number of innings he had thrown in the last few games,  but he ended up sending Tanaka to the mound in relief midway through the third inning.
 He had compiled a 12–4 record with a 2. 51 ERA in 18 starts and was forced to withdraw from the All-Star Game as a result of the injury. An MRI revealed that his elbow had a partially torn UCL. At the behest of several doctors, Tanaka received a PRP shot from Yankees' head team physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad and rested his elbow for 6 weeks instead of having Tommy John surgery to repair his UCL. Tanaka returned on September 21 against the Blue Jays, receiving his 13th win of the season in the Yankees' 5–2 victory over the Blue Jays. He would only pitch one more time during the 2014 season, a loss to the Boston Red Sox in which he gave up seven runs (five earned) in 1+2⁄3 innings.
While Tanaka saw limited playing time as a middle reliever for the team, he recorded a 0. 00 ERA and the highest strikeout rate of any pitcher on the team.  2009 World Baseball Classic He also played for Japan in the 2009 World Baseball Classic, coming on in relief for Satoshi Komatsu midway through the sixth inning of the seeding match against South Korea in the second round but surrendering a home run to Lee Bum-Ho (Japan won 6–2).
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In a short time after his return from the DL, he pitched a complete game shutout in a 4–0 win over the Rays.  2019 Due to Luis Severino's rotator cuff injury, the Yankees tapped Tanaka for his fourth Opening Day start on March 9, 2019.  The start gave him the record for most Opening Day starts by a Japanese pitcher with four, passing Hideo Nomo. Tanaka would pitch 5+2⁄3 innings, allowing 6 hits and 2 runs while striking out 5 in the Yankees 7–2 win vs the Orioles.
During an interleague game against the New York Mets on May 14, Tanaka recorded his first major league hit off of José Valverde and pitched his first complete game in the majors as the Yankees shut out the Mets 4–0. Tanaka began his American career with a 6–0 record before he received his first loss in the MLB on May 20, as the Yankees lost to the Chicago Cubs 6–1; it was his first loss in any professional baseball league since August 19, 2012. In June, Tanaka recorded his 100th strikeout of the season in a complete game against the Seattle Mariners; his bid for a shutout was ended when former Yankee Robinson Canó hit a two-run home run in the ninth inning.
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