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Yankees Playoff Hopes Linger on the Health of Masahrio Tanaka

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Spring Training began and the New York Yankees performed well so far with Masahrio Tanaka leading the way. Through five and two-third innings pitched he allowed two hits, no walks and five strikeouts. There was concerned on his right elbow being torn despite the rehab last year, but it has not happened yet.

Partially torn UCL’s can be tricky for pitchers. Some can pitch through it and have no problems. But the reality of leaving it for an extended period of time is ludicrous. ESPN reported Tanaka talking about the state of the elbow to the reporters.

No, probably just you guys,” Tanaka said. “It feels good. It feels all right.

The questions on the elbow will be asked about throughout the season. Pitchers such as Mets Zack Wheeler and Texans Yu Darvish are ending the season before they started. Both are doing Tommy John Surgery and the epidemic rise of pitchers getting partial torn UCL’s makes managers feel uncomfortable.

Manager Joe Girardi is pleased thus far with Tanaka throwing well and hopes it continues towards the end of spring training.

I’m pleased with the way he’s throwing,” Joe Girardi said. “Since Day 1 of spring training we’ve been happy with what we’re seeing. If I’m going to be on the edge of my seat every pitch it’s going to be a long season. He appears to be healthy, he’s throwing the ball well, so we’ll keep running him out there, and just keep building him up.

The Yankees also have power back in the lineup as Mark Teixeira, Brian McCann and Stephen Drew hit home runs this spring. They may get some of their power hitters back this season to produce more runs, but there chances of making the playoffs will depend on the health of Tanaka come Sept.

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