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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Fastball from Japan

TOKYO () -- When fastball pitcher Hideki Irabu takes the mound for his debut with the New York Yankees, he is expected to draw the largest Japanese audience ever for a U.S. Major League game.

Television coverage plans include showing the game on at least 48 billboard-sized screens in 24 cities Friday morning.

That's a far cry from the debut of countryman Hideo Nomo, who was hardly noticed in Japan, when he pitched a respectable five scoreless innings in May 1995 for the Los Angeles Dodgers -- they lost to the San Francisco Giants.