CLEVELAND (CBSNewYork/AP) — Masahiro Tanaka has a partially torn elbow ligament and is expected to miss at least six weeks, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Thursday night.
The 25-year-old right-hander will attempt nonsurgical rehab on his injured ulnar collateral ligament. Cashman did not rule out season-ending, reconstructive “Tommy John” surgery, but said it would depend on how well the rehab works.
“The ligament tear is considered small, and we have had success with pitchers that have had these,” Cashman said. “We have actually had them continue to throw without incident and they have gotten back to their normal levels.”
Tanaka was placed on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday, perhaps the biggest blow yet to the Yankees’ battered rotation.
The rookie sensation from Japan had an MRI in New York and then flew to Seattle to be examined by Dr. Christopher Ahmad, the team’s head physician. Ahmad is in Seattle for a conference.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi acknowledged prior to Thursday’s series finale in Cleveland that he was concerned about Tanaka’s prognosis.
“You’re always worried when you have a guy go back for an elbow MRI,” he said. “It would be a big loss. Anytime you lose a starting pitcher, they’re hard to replace. And what he’s done for us, the innings and the wins and the quality of starts, it’s hard to replace.”
However, Girardi told WFAN’s Mike Francesa he’s not going to make excuses for his club going forward.
“As we’ve always said, no one is going to feel sorry for you. We just have to go out and win games,” Girardi said.