His right arm encased in ice, Masahiro Tanaka patted Zelous Wheeler on the back as he moved past the newest Yankee’s locker.

Clearly, there was no language barrier between the ace pitcher and the third baseman, who made a colossal splash in his big league debut after spending seven-plus years in the minors.

Wheeler turned and smiled as Tanaka walked away. A few seconds later, Wheeler, called up from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Thursday morning, walked out into the comfortable Minnesota night with Derek Jeter.

“It was great, I waited for this moment for a long time,’’ said Wheeler, whose first big league hit was a fifth-inning homer off Phil Hughes and helped carry the Yankees to a 7-4 victory in front of 34,714 at Target Field. “I hope to take advantage of it.’’

He is 27, having come out of Alabama’s Wallace State Community College in 2007 and taken in the 19th round by the Brewers. In the Yankees’ world of designer tastes, Wheeler, a minor league free agent signing, is straight off the rack.

“It was a special night for him,’’ manager Joe Girardi said of Wheeler, promoted when the Yankees sent a reeling Yangervis Solarte out with the hope he rediscovers the swing that made him the feel-good story of the first two months. “He was a big part of the win. His first hit is a homer and into our bullpen, so we got the ball. For him it was a huge thrill, and I’m happy for him.’’