Masahiro Tanaka diagnosed with partially-torn UCL in elbow

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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.

Tigers sign Edwin Espinal to minor league deal

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Free agent first baseman Edwin Espinal has signed a minor league deal with the Tigers, the infielder announced Saturday. The move has yet to be confirmed by the team.

Espinal, 23, capped a seven-year run with the Pirates’ minor league affiliates in 2017. He split his season between Double-A Altoona and Triple-A Indianapolis, batting a cumulative .294/.327/.447 with 15 home runs and 31 doubles in 532 plate appearances. While he’s raked at nearly every level so far, he also profiles well on defense, and rounded off his 2017 performance with a perfect fielding percentage, 208 putouts and a Gold Glove award.

Espinal is untested at the major league level and it’s not yet clear if he’ll make the jump in 2018. He showed some positional versatility during his time in the minors, however, and could take reps at third base or DH if necessary. The Tigers are reportedly on the lookout for pitching depth and left-handed bats — two bills the right-handed Espinal doesn’t fit — and presumably have a lot of moves left to make this winter.