New York Yankees All-Star righty Masahiro Tanaka was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Wednesday because of what the Yankees called “right elbow inflammation.” The New York Post reported Tanaka had returned to New York to have an MRI on his right arm.
Tanaka, a Rookie of the Year candidate who made the 2014 All-Star team because of his major-league leading 12 wins and 2.51 era, second in the AL to Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners, was battered on Tuesday by the Cleveland Indians, giving up five runs and 10 hits in 6 1/3 innings. It was the worst start of his fledgling MLB career, prefaced by an astonishing 24-0 record for the Rakuten Golden Eagles in Nippon Professional Baseball last year.
This year, the star-crossed Yankees’ starting rotation has suffered the losses of Ivan Nova, who needed Tommy John surgery, Michael Pineda to a shoulder problem, and CC Sabathia to the 60-day disabled list. On Sunday, The Yankees traded Vidal Nuno to the Arizona Diamonbacks for Brandon McCarthy to try to bolster their already shaky staff. Nuno’s ERA was a dismal 5.42, while McCarthy’s was marginally better at 5.01. McCarthy started Wednesday against the Indians and gave up only one earned run in 6 2/3 innings as the Yankees won 5-4 in 14 innings.
Tanaka was holding the leaky Yankee ship together this season, as he was 4.2 wins above replacement (WAR), while Hiroki Kuroda (0.9 WAR), David Phelps (0.6), Chase Whitley (0.0), Sabathia (-0.3), Nova (-0.6), Nuno (-0.4), and Pineda (0.9) were far behind him. The Yankees awarded him a 7-year, $155 million contract earlier this year after the new posting process played out.
It wasn’t just the Tanaka announcement that made Wednesday a tough day for the Bronx Bombers. Carlos Beltran was hit by a ball as it ricocheted off a batting practice screen and smashed into his face, breaking his nose.