Yankees' Masahiro Tanaka returns to Japan because of coronavirus concerns in United States

With the start of the Major League Baseball season delayed for an unknowable amount of time due to the spread of the novel coronavirus, some foreign-born players are choosing to leave the country rather than ride out the storm in the United States. That includes New York Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, who returned to Japan in March.

Tanaka, 31, shared his reasoning on Twitter in his native Japanese. Here is the American translation of part of his message on the subject (be mindful that any weird wording is the result of the translation service):

Even after the suspension of the camp, while living in the campground Florida, there was an event that made me feel danger besides the infection with the new coronavirus, so I decided to return home with due care. We are currently waiting at home for two weeks, as requested by the Japanese government.

I would like to continue to take responsible actions as an immigrant from abroad.

Essentially, Tanaka and his family felt unsafe in Florida, but have shown no symptoms of COVID-19. Even so, they will be self-quarantining for two weeks, at the request of the Japanese government. 

The Yankees, of course, have had more up-close and personal experience with the coronavirus than most other teams, as a pair of minor-league players tested positive earlier in the spring.

Tanaka will have ample time to return to the United States in advance of a season -- if there is one, anyway. The optimistic timeline presented by the league has teams reconvening for training sometime in May, with a season beginning no earlier than June.

CBS Sports Staff

R.J. Anderson joined CBS Sports in 2016. He previously wrote for Baseball Prospectus, where he contributed to five of the New York Times bestselling annuals. His work has also appeared in Newsweek and... Full Bio

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