- Associated Press - Thursday, February 6, 2014

TOKYO (AP) - Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka has obtained a work visa and could depart for the United States as early as Sunday.

Tanaka, who signed a $155 million, seven-year contract with the New York Yankees last month, obtained his visa on Tuesday and is preparing to leave for spring training which starts of Feb. 15, a member of Tanaka’s support staff said on Thursday.

Tanaka, who has been working out in Sendai, said “I am in better shape at this point compared to previous years.”

The 25-year-old right-hander replaces the retired Andy Pettitte in the rotation and joins C.C. Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda and Ivan Nova.

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