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Potential Nightmare: Tanaka Placed On 15-Day DL With Elbow Inflammation

Yankees' High-Priced Ace Had Been Hit Hard -- For Him -- Over His Last 2 Starts
Masahiro Tanaka sits in the dugout after leaving the game during the seventh inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on July 8, 2014 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

Masahiro Tanaka sits in the dugout after leaving the game during the seventh inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on July 8, 2014 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — This is the potential nightmare scenario.

Masahiro Tanaka left the Yankees on Wednesday and returned to New York for an MRI on his right arm, the NY Post reported. He was later placed on the 15-day disabled list with elbow inflammation, manager Joe Girardi announced.

“It’s not how you draw it up, but injuries are a part of the game,” Girardi told reporters prior to the Yankees’ game in Cleveland.

Since signing a massive seven-year, $155 million contract during the offseason, Tanaka has lived up to the hype during his first season in the majors, going 12-4 with a 2.51 ERA, 135 strikeouts and just 19 walks over 18 starts and earning himself a spot on the American League All-Star team.

However, the 25-year-old Japanese right-hander had struggled a bit of late by his lofty standards, losing three of his last four decisions. He has allowed nine earned runs over his last 13 2-3 innings, including a season-high five earned in a 5-3 loss to the Indians on Tuesday night.

“We won’t be sure until he actually sees the doctor,” Girardi said. “And we’ll go from there.”

Catcher Brian McCann told reporters prior to Wednesday’s game that “he didn’t notice anything” with Tanaka on Tuesday night suggesting an injury, but added “his pitches didn’t have the sharp action” as before.

The loss of Tanaka for any significant period of time could prove to be too much to overcome for the Yankees as they make their push for a playoff spot. Injuries to starting pitchers Ivan Nova, CC Sabathia and Michael Pineda have contributed greatly to New York’s pedestrian 45-44 record. The Yankees headed into Wednesday night’s game in Cleveland four games out of first place in the AL East.

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