Tanaka Time Only Put On Pause

by Nik Swartz | Posted on Wednesday, April 29th, 2015
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New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka

New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka

The New York Yankees announced ace Masahiro Tanaka would be heading to 15-day DL yesterday due to wrist tendonitis and soreness in his forearm. Yankees GM Brian Cashman wasn’t as optimistic about the time line on Tanaka’s return, since he will be completely shut down for at least 14 days, and said he thought Tanaka would be out at least 30 days.

Tanaka could be on the DL as long as 45 days, and if you listen to all the Yankees writers, as well as all the other doctors on social media, this will be the end of Tanaka’s season.

Does this DL stint mean Tanaka is done for the season? Nope. Does this DL stint mean Tanaka needs Tommy John surgery this season? Nope.

If one would listen to the doctors in the media, you would think this is the end of “Tanaka Time” for the foreseeable future, but that’s not the case. Obviously Tanaka heading to the DL sends up many red flags about his elbow, but there are no proven facts this injury has anything to do with his elbow.

Tanaka is being evaluated and taken care of by the most experienced and well respected doctors in the world. These wonderful doctors said after yesterday’s MRI that Tanaka showed no additional tear to his UCL.

When the news broke that Tanaka was headed to the DL the rabid dogs came out across the country with their opinions about the Yankees handling of Tanaka, as well as their not-at-all trained opinion on how it was inevitable the star pitcher’s injury was because he was overcompensating for the injured elbow, which brought on the wrist injury, which brought on the forearm strain and all that added up to Tanaka’s Tommy John surgery not being an “if,” but rather a “when.”

Will Tanaka end up having the TJ surgery this season? Who knows?  It is possible, but there is no proof that it will be this season, or that this particular injury has anything to do with Tanaka doing something wrong, or something to overcompensate for his elbow being hurt.

There are many in the media who just want to say “I told you so. I said the Yankees were stupid for trying to bring Tanaka back this season instead of getting him in to have the Tommy John surgery.”

Those are actual quotes from articles the past 24 hours from main stream MLB “experts” as well as the many social media doctors across the net, but those that are actually taking care of the young pitcher have said the exact opposite. Those who actually have medical degrees have said the recent injury has nothing to do with his UCL.

It is possible Tanaka is putting more pressure on his wrist and forearm because he is afraid to put that pressure on his elbow, but right now there is no evidence of that being the case. The only people saying that this is a fact are the millions and millions of doctors with degrees from social media university.

Point being, before everyone starts counting the Yankees out again, or starts writing their ‘Tanaka to have Tommy John surgery’ article, take a deep breath; the Yankees would not jeopardize their best pitchers’ health for years to come just for the 2015 season. It doesn’t make sense for the Yankees to force Tanaka to pitch this season. Yes, the Yankees are on a hell of a run the past 12 games and sit atop the AL East with a 13-8 record, but just two weeks ago everyone was counting the Yankees out.

Coming into the season no one thought the Yankees would be competing for anything, so why would they mortgage their future for a season no one thought they ever had a chance in? The Yankees would not mortgage the main piece of the franchises’ future in any situation.

All of you, who are sitting by your computers waiting to cross the “T’s” and dot the “I’s” on your Tanaka’s Tommy John surgery article, pump your brakes. Tanaka will return and as of right now that statement has more facts to back it than any of those who say the Japanese phenom will need Tommy John surgery.

Follow Nik Swartz on Twitter @Sweetnesz13

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Nik Swartz
About the Author

Graduate of Penn State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communication and Psychology, currently a counselor in Philadelphia. I started writing professionally in 1999 as the Penn State beat writer for the Milton Standard/Lewisburg Daily Journal in Pa. I have worked at eight daily newspapers as a Sports Writer/Editor - covering all high school sports, the NFL, professional baseball and professional hockey. A few sites I've written and/or contributed articles for include Rant Sports, Bleacher Report, FanSided and Pro Football Spot. Follow Nik on Twitter @Sweetnesz13.

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