Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka has a partially-torn ligament in his throwing arm, but as of right now, has no plans to have season-ending Tommy John surgery. The Yankees put Tanaka through rehab and see if they can get him back on the mound in a couple of months. If the rehab doesn’t work and he must have surgery, he will likely be out 12-18 months. He would join the growing list of starting pitchers who have become Tommy John surgery patients this season, such as the Mets’ Matt Harvey and the Diamondbacks’ Bronson Arroyo.
Just replace "Harvey" with "Tanaka" and realize that Harvey's tear was much worse than Tanaka's: http://t.co/XxYVzsW63F
— Will Carroll (@injuryexpert) July 11, 2014
Tanaka was not experiencing the tell-tale loss of velocity, but had been complaining of soreness and a loss of command. In his first 14 starts he had an MVP-worthy ERA of 1.99. But in his past 4 starts his ERA was 4.25. Tanaka is only 25 years old, but he was a high mileage pitcher in Japan before the Yankees won the posting war for him, and this season he was pushing his arm for all it was worth.
Masahiro Tanaka has thrown 477 splitters this season, 81 more than the next-closest pitcher (Hiroki Kuroda).
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 11, 2014
With him, the Yankees were an above .500 team, but they are three games behind the Orioles. The Bronx Bombers would have traded for another player to put them back in the running in the AL East, but if they’ve lost Tanaka for the rest of the season, they may be done with the AL wild card teams both likely coming from the strong West division.
Photo via Getty
David Young has been a columnist for ESPN and Sports Illustrated, and is now one for SportsGrid.com. Follow him on Twitter @turkeysflying