Going into the season, Yankees fans knew that Masahiro Tanaka would be pitching in mostly uncharted waters in his medically approved attempt to rehab his minor UCL tear and avoid Tommy John surgery. Today brought the first major bump in the road since he began his rehab last summer. In the middle of tonight's Yankees/Rays game, GM Brian Cashman announced that Tanaka would go to the 15-day DL to recover from a couple injuries:
GM Brian Cashman: Tanaka had mri on wrist showed tendinitis of right wrist also had mri on elbow ... No change in elbow ...— Meredith Marakovits (@M_Marakovits) April 29, 2015
Cashman said forearm issue so small can't even call it a grade 1 strain.— Meredith Marakovits (@M_Marakovits) April 29, 2015
Cashman says Tanaka will be out at least a month.— Andrew Marchand (@AndrewMarchand) April 29, 2015
The news is obviously not great, but if there is any solace, it's that as Marakovits reported, it's a very minor forearm strain. Cashman did mention that there was a possibility that it could be a precursor to Tommy John surgery. However, since this seems that this is more of a wrist injury, we're definitely not at the point of SHOULDA GOT TOMMY JOHN already. If he needed it, the doctors would have said so.
At this juncture, we can only hope that Tanaka just needs the one month to recover. In the meantime, the Yankees are likely to make do with a rotation of Michael Pineda, CC Sabathia, Nathan Eovaldi, Adam Warren, and Chase Whitley, who was called up today to help give extra rest anyway. Instead, the rotation will likely resume normal rest with Pineda pitching tomorrow afternoon. Infielder Gregorio Petit, optioned to make room for Whitley, will return to the team tomorrow since the Yanks played with a short bench Wednesday and Petit can be recalled due to an injury. Jose Pirela is still on a rehab assignment with Double-A Trenton from his concussion, so it's certainly fine to just bring Petit back.
Get well soon, Tanaka!