Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka went above and beyond the call of duty during Saturday’s 2-1 loss to the Rays. He held the Rays scoreless through five innings and had struck out both Austin Meadows and Tommy Pham in the top of the sixth when Ji-Man Choi roped a double out to left field. With a one-run lead to protect, Tanaka induced a first-pitch groundout from Yandy Díaz, but things didn’t go quite as expected: the ball ricocheted off of his right leg, then caromed back toward first base for an easy 1-3 putout.
It’s a play that might not have worked quite so perfectly if the ball hadn’t struck Tanaka’s shin at just the right angle. Unfortunately for the pitcher, it was also one of the hardest-hit batted balls he’d allowed all year — and one that left a definite contusion on his leg. He exited with a trainer and did not return for the seventh inning, when Tommy Kahnle stepped in for the starter and gave up the tying run on a Brandon Lowe solo shot.
For now, however, it doesn’t seem as though the Yankees have much to worry about. X-rays returned negative for any fractures, and Tanaka is likely to make a full recovery well before his next scheduled start. So far this season, the 30-year-old righty is 3-3 through 10 starts with a 3.09 ERA, 2.1 BB/9, and 8.1 SO/9 across 58 1/3 innings.
The Yankees, meanwhile, are now 27-17 following Saturday’s loss and sit just half a game behind the Rays for first place in the AL East.
The Angels have placed Andrew Heaney on the 10-day injured list with left shoulder inflammation, the club announced Saturday. The move is retroactive to July 17, though it’s not yet certain that he’ll be cleared to pitch again by the end of the month.
It’s an unfortunate development for the 28-year-old southpaw, who has battled inflammation in his pitching elbow on and off since spring training. In fact, his arm issues date back several years, including the shoulder impingement that put him on the shelf in 2017 and the Tommy John surgery he underwent in 2016. With such a complicated medical history, it makes sense that the Angels would want to proceed with caution as they facilitate the lefty’s eventual return to the mound.
Given his ongoing struggles, Heaney has seen mixed results with the club in 2019. Prior to his recent IL assignment, he pitched to a 1-3 record in nine starts with a 5.09 ERA, 3.7 BB/9, and 10.6 SO/9 through 46 innings. Since the end of June, however, his starts have gotten shorter and shorter; he lasted just 4 1/3 innings in his final outing against the Astros, expending a tremendous 103 pitches and issuing two runs, two walks, and five strikeouts during the team’s eventual 7-2 win.
In a corresponding roster move, the Angels claimed lefty reliever Adalberto Mejía off of waivers from the Twins. Mejía, 26, is expected to be activated ahead of Saturday’s game versus the Mariners. Over 13 appearances with Minnesota, he turned in an 8.80 ERA, 7.0 BB/9, and 8.8 SO/9 in 15 1/3 innings.