New York Yankees place Masahiro Tanaka on 15-day DL with elbow inflammationYankees ace sent to New York for MRI after pitching 6 2/3 innings on Tuesday night
"I'm not saying it's a significant injury, but there's soreness, and he must have felt like it was affecting him," Yankees manager Joe Girardi told the media prior to Wednesday's game. "We'll have to see what (team physician) Dr. Christopher Ahmad says, but hopefully we can get it done quickly."
George King of the New York Post first reported Wednesday afternoon that Tanaka, who allowed five runs on 10 hits over 6 2/3 innings in a 5-3 Yankees loss to the Indians Tuesday night, had flown back to New York to undergo an MRI on his right arm.
Girardi did not have any further word on the situation, as Dr. Ahmad is at a conference in Seattle and has not yet seen Tanaka or reviewed the results of his MRI.
Of the decision to disable Tanaka immediately, the skipper revealed that the All-Star break was not a factor in the DL decision, as the righty was "going to get extra rest on the other side anyway" -but even if he is out only the minimum of 15 days, the departure of a pitcher who is 12-4 with a 2.51 ERA in 18 starts is a huge blow to the Yankees, who now have just one member of the opening day rotation (Hiroki Kuroda) on the active roster.
"It's not how you draw it up, but injuries are a part of the game," Girardi said. "Any time you lose a starting pitcher, they're hard to replace - especially with what he's done for us - but we're going to have to survive and keep going. Hopefully it's not long."
Following Tuesday's outing, when asked what happened, Tanaka said through his interpreter that "I do understand the reason why I was struggling today, but it's really difficult for me to tell you why." Girardi said that Tanaka did not report any discomfort in his elbow until after Tuesday's outing, but Erik Boland of Newsday Tweeted that according to his sources, the righty has been feeling discomfort following his last few starts.
Girardi, however, did not notice anything out of the ordinary during that last start.
"We saw his velocity was normal, and he had some really good splits and sliders, so there wasn't really anything that led us to believe anything was wrong," the skipper said. "He made a couple mistakes, but I don't know if it's a result of what he felt."
Tanaka's next start was scheduled to come in the Yankees' first-half finale in Baltimore on Sunday, and the skipper did not yet have an idea who would start in the righty's place.
"We're on rotation the next four days, and Sunday is Mr. TBA," he said. "We could do a lot of things, but it will really depend on the next four days. It's basically we have to see what we need to get through the next four days and then go with our best option."
For now, Tanaka's roster spot is being filled by outfielder Zoilo Almonte, who was called up from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and immediately inserted into Wednesday's starting lineup.