After a spectacular start to his MLB career Masahiro Tanaka has looked somewhat human of late, allowing nine runs and a .333 opponents’ batting average in his last two starts. And now we may know why: According to George King the New York Post the Yankees right-hander is headed back to New York to undergo an MRI exam on his right arm.
No further details yet, but Tanaka has allowed a career-high number of runs in back-to-back starts, including five runs on 10 hits against the Indians last night. He tossed at least 100 pitches in 14 of his first 16 starts–including 116 on June 28–but has totaled just 85 and 99 pitches in his recent poor outings.
Tanaka is in line to potentially start the All-Star game for the AL with a league-leading 12 wins and a 2.52 ERA that ranks second to Felix Hernandez of the Mariners. He also leads the league with three complete games and has thrown 129 innings with a 135/19 K/BB ratio.
And now Yankees fans hold their collective breath waiting to hear news on the team’s $155 million ace.
UPDATE: For now the Yankees have placed Tanaka on the disabled list with what is being called elbow inflammation.
The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.
Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”
Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”
The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.