Masahiro Tanaka’s uneven 2017 season took another downturn on Saturday when the Yankees placed their erstwhile ace on the 10-day disabled list with inflammation of the right shoulder.
The Japanese righthander is eligible to opt out of the final three years and $ 67 million of his $ 155 million contract this offseason, but he’s just 8-10 with a 4.92 ERA in 133.2 innings over 23 starts.
Tanaka walked a career-high five batters in four-plus innings on Wednesday night, an 11-5 Yankees win over the Blue Jays in Toronto.
Joe Girardi said the pitcher first informed the Yankees following that start that his right arm “was tired” from his shoulder down to fingers. Team doctors determined the issue is “nothing structural,” just “fatigue and soreness.”
“Structurally he comes out fine. From a strength standpoint he comes out fine. You can MRI every pitcher, and you’re going to find inflammation somewhere, that’s the bottom line. So we decided that he needs a break,” Girardi said before Saturday’s game against Boston. “I don’t think this will be too long, I don’t.
“I feel pretty good about him coming back shortly after he is ready to come off (the DL).”
Rookie lefty Jordan Montgomery already was recalled from Triple-A Scranton to replace CC Sabathia in the rotation on Sunday night against Boston.
Tanaka, who also has dealt with forearm and elbow injuries in past seasons, was slated to make his next start on Monday against the Mets. Girardi indicated that Bryan Mitchell and Luis Cessa are the likely candidates to take Tanaka’s turn, with righty reliever Giovanny Gallegos recalled in the interim from Scranton.
“It’s obviously frustrating for this to happen at this time, especially with where we’re at, making a playoff push,” Tanaka said through a translator. “But I know this is going to be a relatively short time off and I believe that this time off will get me back stronger.”
Tanaka, 28, added that the plan is to “rest it for a couple of days” and then resume throwing, saying the soreness got “to a level that I thought that I needed to mention it because I thought that it would affect performance if I were to pitch Monday.” He also stressed the injury “is getting better” already after receiving treatment.
“The soreness is something that kind of gradually probably built up,” said Tanaka, who finished last season with a 14-4 record and a 3.07 ERA, good for third in the American League. “I felt some extra soreness there after the outing in Toronto. I thought it would be better to mention about this…Hopefully it will be relatively short.”
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