The diagnosis is in on Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka and it’s not particularly promising.
According to Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman just announced that Tanaka has seen three doctors and all of them have diagnosed him with a partially-torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow.
Tanaka will receive a platelet-rich plasma injection for now and attempt to begin a throwing program. If all goes well, he could make it back in around six weeks. Of course, Tommy John surgery hasn’t been ruled out if his elbow fails to respond. While the tear is considered “small,” there haven’t been many success stories with pitchers attempting to rehab from these type of injuries. If Tommy John surgery is ultimately required, he will likely miss around 12 months. Basically, the Yankees are faced with the very real possibility that they will be without Tanaka for the rest of this season and all (or most) of 2015.
The news is a really tough blow for the Yankees and just the latest in a long line of high-profile pitchers with arm injuries. Tanaka has been a sensation in his first year stateside, going 12-4 with a 2.51 ERA and 135/19 K/BB ratio in 129 1/3 innings over 18 starts.