That seemed obvious as Tanaka labored through four laps around the warning track, a total of approximately one mile, along with Nova and three other rookies (Sabathia and Kuroda invoked the veteran's privilege of passing on the run).
Asked what his lasting memory of his first day in Yankees camp would be, Tanaka said, "Probably what I will remember is the four laps that we did at the end. It was pretty hard."
A few questions and answers later, he again brought up his running when asked if all the media attention had made it difficult for him to focus on his work.
"Actually, no," he said. "I didn't feel that way. But just the running part, that was really hard for me today. I actually didn't know that I was going to run this much. I'm a little bit of a slow runner, but that part I really can't help."
Tanaka did seem spry enough getting from the mound to first base in fielding drills. He laughed his way through that, and seemed to enjoy the give-and-take with reporters even if he understood only a fraction of the English.
"As a player, I feel very honored to get this much attention," he said. "Some of the fans were cheering today and I was very happy to receive those cheers. It really feels like now I'm ready to go out there and start this whole thing. Everything is going to be a new experience for me, so I'm very looking forward to it."
The whole thing made you wonder about the Yankees' caution in handling Tanaka -- but then again he is a $155 million investment.
It also could be an effort on the part of the Yankees to tamp down some of the expectations regarding Tanaka, if only to shield him from a little of the pressure that at some point he will face.
Already, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has told ESPNNewYork's Ian O'Connor that Tanaka projected as a "really solid, consistent No. 3 starter," -- an assessment he later disavowed -- and Girardi was careful to say that on Saturday, his eyes were on more than just Tanaka.
"There were three other guys throwing that I had an interest in, too -- CC, Kuroda and Nova," Girardi said. "So I spread my interest around. I paid as much attention to him as I did to every other guy."
Tanaka's teammates, however, apparently didn't get the memo, and they made no effort to disguise their enthusiasm and curiosity over their newest teammate.
"I'm excited to get a chance to see him throw," Sabathia said on Friday. "From everything I've heard, he's great, so I'm excited to have him on our team."
"Everybody's talking about the guy, so when he threw a bullpen, even I stopped to watch him," Nova said. "He's really good, I mean in the bullpen, anyway. I saw some videos of him pitching, too. I'm excited that he's here. It was a huge upgrade for this team."
Brian McCann, who caught Sabathia on Saturday, used the word "excited" a half-dozen times in regards to Tanaka. Francisco Cervelli, who caught him in the bullpen, said, "The fastball was really good. Two-seam. Some sliders were good, some were a little slow, but he is going to get it."
But what we do know is that however long he lasts as a Yankee and whatever he does in major leagues, a lot of eyeballs will be on him, all the time.
"He's going to get used to that," Cervelli said. "There is attention for a lot of people here, even me sometimes. He is not the only guy who makes $100 million here."