Well, he hadn't.
Major League Baseball teams lined up for Tanaka's services this winter after he posted phenomenal numbers for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles in the Nippon Professional Baseball league. He went 24-0 and posted an unbelievable 1.27 ERA in 2013. His incredible numbers led to him signing a seven-year, $155 million deal with the New York Yankees.
However, some people—like Jones—believe the level of competition played a role in his success.
The outfielder has not held back when talking to reporters in the Bronx this week. The 28-year-old sounded off on fans running onto the field after two fans did it during the Orioles' game on Tuesday against the Yankees.
As Baltimore prepared to face Tanaka for the first time on Wednesday, Jones was asked about having to face the pitcher. The three-time American League All-Star wasn't a fan of being asked about a pitcher who had made only one start in the majors, via Newsday's Steven Marcus:
Why don't you ask Tanaka about me? I'm the one who's been over here in the major leagues for a while. Congratulations, he did it over there. Don't make it like he's the dirtiest guy in the world. He was 24-0-in Japan.
At the end of the day, we've got to judge it off major-league hitters, not the Japanese hitters. We're a little bit better over here as hitters.
Jones has established himself as a star in the majors, and he isn't buying into the rookie's hype until Tanaka proves himself in the United States.
It's dangerous to call out a pitcher before facing him. Let's see how it worked out for Jones and his Orioles teammates:
Jones struck out in his first two at-bats against Tanaka before singling in the fifth inning. He finished Wednesday's game 2-for-5 with three strikeouts, and the Orioles pulled out a 5-4 victory over the Yankees to spoil Tanaka's home debut.
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