MLB approves Yankees request for Tanaka to pitch wearing surgical mask

New York's Masahiro Tanaka to pitch wearing surgical mask

New York, NY -- The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball announced today that New York Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka will be allowed to pitch wearing a surgical mask as had been requested by the organization.

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 Rob Manfred relented.

"I had another coughing fit today," Manfred said. "And it made me think. If he's more comfortable sporting a mask, especially in Canada, so be it."

Tanaka is scheduled to pitch Sunday April 2nd in Tampa. And, in a related note, the 2017 Yankees will have names on the backs of their jerseys.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs. It first appeared on April 1, 2017.

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