NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — If the Yankees have any chance of returning to the postseason for the first time since 2012, they’ll need Masahiro Tanaka to pitch like an ace.
And Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez doesn’t expect the 26-year-old to stay healthy.READ MORE: NYPD Officer Wilbert Mora Still In Critical Condition Following Deadly Shooting In Harlem
“I don’t see him healthy all year,” Martinez told Adam Schein on SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Sports Radio. “And I don’t see him healthy right now. I’ll be brave enough to say he’s not completely healthy right now.”
Tanaka — who signed a seven-year, $155 million contract with the Yankees in January of 2014 — was brilliant in his rookie season before getting hurt. He missed 10 weeks with a torn ligament in his elbow, but instead of undergoing Tommy John surgery he chose rest and rehab.READ MORE: Westchester Police Departments To Travel To Harlem In Tribute To Fallen NYPD Officer Jason Rivera
The All-Star will start for New York on opening day on Monday when it hosts the Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium.
“Tanaka is not healthy right now because I believe Tanaka is hesitant to let it go,” Martinez told Schein. “Tanaka is hanging all those breaking balls that he is throwing. The only pitch he is committing to is the split-finger, and his problems are actually in a place where you don’t need to put any more stress, which is the elbow.
“And he’s hesitant. He’s hesitating to throw his fastball and he’s hanging every breaking ball he’s throwing out there. Plus his velocity is not there yet.”MORE NEWS: Lashawn McNeil, Suspect In Deadly Harlem Police Shooting, Was On Probation, Had 5 Prior Arrests
Tanaka has been solid this spring, pitching to a 3.07 ERA in 14 2/3 innings. He’s struck out 13 and walked one, but has given up two home runs.