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.
No surprise here: The Astros are headed back to the postseason to defend their title following a landslide 11-3 win over the Angels on Friday. This figures to be their third playoff run since 2015, though they have yet to wrap up the AL West with a division title.
First baseman Yuli Gurriel led the charge on Friday, smashing a grand slam in the first inning and tacking on a two-run homer in the second and RBI single in the fifth to help the Astros to a seven-run lead. The Angels eventually returned fire, first with Mike Trout‘s 418-foot homer in the sixth, then with an RBI hit from Francisco Arcia in the seventh, but they couldn’t close the gap in time to overtake the Astros.
On the mound, right-hander Gerrit Cole clinched his 15th win of the year after holding the Angels to seven innings of three-run, 12-strikeout ball. His sixth strikeout of the night — delivered on an 83.1-MPH knuckle curveball to Kaleb Cowart — also marked the 1,000th strikeout of his career to date. He was backed by flawless performances by lefty reliever Tony Sipp and rookie right-hander Dean Deetz, both of whom turned in scoreless innings as the offense barreled toward an 11-3 finish with Jake Marisnick‘s sac bunt and George Springer‘s three-run shot in the eighth.
Despite having qualified for the playoffs, the Astros still carry a magic number of 6 as they look to clinch a third straight division title. They’re currently up against the Athletics, who entered Friday’s contest against the Twins just four games back of first place in the AL West.