NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Hal Steinbrenner isn’t sounding the alarm on Masahiro Tanaka, but he admits he is concerned about how the Yankees’ ace has been pitching lately.

“We’ll see,” the Yankees’ owner told reporters at the MLB owners meeting Wednesday in Manhattan. “The one thing about Tanaka is he is a seasoned veteran, and sometimes these seasoned veterans tend to start off a little bit slower. CC (Sabathia) has been that way in the past some years. And then they get better and better.

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“But look, I’m not going to say it’s not a concern, what we’ve seen. But he’s a professional. He’s a veteran. Been around a lot of years. There’s no complaints of injury. There’s no complaints of anything, physical-wise. So you’ve got to figure it’s going to come.”

Masahiro Tanaka, Gary Sanchez

Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka, left, talks with catcher Gary Sanchez during the first inning of the second game of their doubleheader against the Houston Astros on May 14, 2017 in the Bronx. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

In his last three starts, Tanaka has a 9.00 ERA. On Sunday night against Houston, the right-hander allowed eight runs on seven hits before being pulled with two outs in the second inning, spoiling Derek Jeter Night.

“I didn’t do my job,” Tanaka said through a translator after the game. “They (the fans) have all the right to boo me.”

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A National League scout who is very familiar with Tanaka told he believes the pitcher’s problems are related to a correctable mechanical flaw. He said Tanaka has a tendency to to have “his legs get just a bit out front of his body,” which causes his right arm to be slightly behind in his delivery. That results in poor location and loss of movement, the scout said.

The struggles come at a bad time for Tanaka. He can opt out of the final three years of his seven-year, $155 million contract after this season. However, if he doesn’t get back on track and finish with strong numbers, it’s unlikely another team would give him the bigger payday he might be hoping for.


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