Why the New York Yankees should give Tanaka time to heal

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When Masahiro Tanaka made his multi-million dollar move to America the rest of the MLB knew the Japanese pitcher wouldn't be so much a secret weapon but more of a battering ram.

This has been proven true over the first half of his rookie season for the New York Yankees by just looking at his statistics.

Games Started: 18 Innings Pitched: 129.1 Earned Run Average: 2.51 Strikeouts: 135 Record: 12-4

That is what $175 million gets you.

But unlike money the players can wilt and when too much is demanded they can end up paying the price.

This has manifested itself as an injury to Tanaka’s precious pitching elbow which has placed him on the Disabled List with a small tear in his ulnar collateral ligament.

According to, Tanaka is expected to be absent from the Yankees frontline for six weeks.

But the club will be pushing for their pitcher to return as soon as possible for the crunch time of the season. Although it is completely understandable for the Yankees to want their star man back, a warning should be heeded.

A small tear in the elbow is the beginning of the dreaded road down to a Tommy John surgery. Tanaka is a long way from suffering a Tommy John but if the Yankees overuse and stress their starting pitcher, they could lose him for 12 to 18 months.

At the start of the season Tanaka took no time at all to adapt to his new surroundings and took comfortably to the biggest job in the game.

The starting pitcher gave a winning performance in six of his first eight games (losing none) and currently sits on a 12-4 season record.

For the first two months, the 25-year-old could do no wrong. Even when things got tough he either found a way through it or received a helping hand for Derek Jeter and company.

The Yankees have used Tanaka 18 times this season, more than any other starting pitcher, and he has tossed the most innings and the most pitches per start in the Yankees bullpen.

Despite his fine figures Joe Girardi, Yankees manager, should be concerned about burnout.

Since June 22 Tanaka has suffered heavily with a 1-3 record with a 4.32 ERA. The pitcher was placed on the 15-day Disabled List four days after his last game, 5-3 defeat to at Cleveland Indians.

It is unknown whether his dip in form was down to the injury or other aspects but one thing is for sure: Tanaka was exhausted.

For the price the Yankees paid for Tanaka they will want to make every cent count and sometimes that may mean giving him time to rest.

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MLB American League
Cleveland Indians
New York Yankees
New York Yankees

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