The practice of wearing surgical masks is common in Japan, despite strong evidence indicating that they do not work to prevent the spread of disease. The rookie hurler was spotted wearing one at Teterboro Airport earlier this year and, after NY Senator Chuck Schumer petitioned Major League Baseball on his behalf, MLB Commissioner Bud Selig relented.
"I had another coughing fit today," Selig said. "And it made me think. If he's more comfortable sporting a mask, especially in Canada, so be it."
Tanaka is scheduled to make his Major League debut Friday, April 4th at Toronto.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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