Masahiro believes poor mechanics were what led to his bum elbow

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Jeff Passan — who is writing a book about Tommy John surgery, so it is of special interest to him — has a story today about Masahiro Tanaka and the uncertainties surrounding his elbow. The same elbow which cut his season short last year and which some, Passan included, it seems, believes should have been operated on then instead of, inevitably they believe, later.

For his part Tanaka blames poor mechanics for the strained on his UCL last year and believes he will be fine with mechanical adjustments:

“I don’t think they were solid,” Tanaka told Yahoo Sports through interpreter Shingo Horie recently. “With the right mechanics, the right form, the right balance, you’re able to throw a solid pitch. It’s not about how much power you can put on the throw. It’s more about the mechanics. That’s what I believe.

I have no idea whether Tanaka and the Yankees were right or wrong to decide agains Tommy John surgery. I’ll leave that up to the orthopedic surgeons with whom he and the team consulted and trust that they got good advice and are acting on that good advice.

But the mechanics stuff interests me. Specifically, it will be worth watching as the season begins whether Tanaka has truly altered his mechanics in a way visible to us in the stands. And whether that impacts his effectiveness or creates other problems, as pitchers who change their mechanics up often experience.

Brewers have 3 positive COVID tests at alternate site

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
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MILWAUKEE — The Brewers had two players and a staff member test positive for the coronavirus at their alternate training site in Appleton, Wisconsin.

Milwaukee president of baseball operations David Stearns confirmed the positive results Saturday and said they shouldn’t impact the major league team. Teams are using alternate training sites this season to keep reserve players sharp because the minor league season was canceled due to the pandemic.

Stearns said the positive tests came Monday and did not name the two players or the staff member. Players must give their permission for their names to be revealed after positive tests.

The entire camp was placed in quarantine.

“We have gone through contact tracing,” Stearns said. “We do not believe it will have any impact at all on our major league team. We’ve been fortunate to get through this season relatively unscathed in this area. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get all the way there at our alternate site.”

Milwaukee entered Saturday one game behind the Reds and Cardinals for second place in the NL Central, with the top two teams qualifying for the postseason.

The Brewers still will be able to take taxi squad players with them on the team’s trip to Cincinnati and St. Louis in the final week of the season. He said those players have had repeated negative tests and the team is “confident” there would be no possible spread of the virus.

“Because of the nature of who these individuals were, it’s really not going to affect the quarantine group at all,” Stearns said. “We’re very fortunate that the group of players who could potentially be on a postseason roster for us aren’t interacting all that much with the individuals that tested positive.”