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article imageYankees' ace Masahiro Tanaka may require season-ending surgery

By James Green     Jul 10, 2014 in Sports
New York - The New York Yankees have announced Masahiro Tanaka has a partially torn ligament in his throwing elbow. The injury may ultimately require season-ending Tommy John surgery.
Today the Yankees announced their star pitcher Masahiro Tanaka will be placed on the 15-day disabled list (DL) with a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. Yankees GM Brian Cashman told ESPN Tanaka has been examined by three separate doctors and none have recommended surgery, yet.
Tanaka will receive a platelet-rich plasma injection in his injured elbow and will participate in a custom exercise and throwing program. Doctors will re-evaluate Tanaka's elbow in six weeks, the Yankees are hopeful he will be able to return to the rotation.
Cashman said, "we have had success with pitchers that have had these (platelet-rich injections), we have actually had them continue to throw without incident and they have gotten back to their normal levels." However, he was careful to point out "It doesn't rule out the possibility of a Tommy John surgery in a failed attempt.
If Tanaka were to undergo Tommy John season at this point of the season he would undoubtably miss the remainder of the 2013-2014 baseball season, and likely most of the 2015 season as well.
The Yankees signed Tanaka out of Japan last off season to a $155 million contract. This is his first year in a seven-year deal so the Yankees are likely to be very cautious with this injury to protect their investment. Before the injury Tanaka had been one of the best pitchers in the MLB. He ranked in the top 10 for strikeouts and was tied for a league-leading 12 wins this season.
The Yankees season has been plagued by injuries. Hiroki Kuroda is the only starting pitcher from the Yankees 2014 rotation who is not currently on the DL. CC Sabathia has been shut down for the season with fluid in his knee. Ivan Nova had Tommy John surgery in late April of this year, and Michael Pineda is not expected back until mid-August with a shoulder injury.
According to MLB.com, if Masahiro Tanaka does indeed require Tommy John surgery he would be the 23rd MLB player to undergo the procedure in 2014. The most recent of the 22 other major league players to require TJ surgery was Diamondbacks starting pitcher Bronson Arroyo who had never missed a start in his career prior to this season. The unusually high number of TJ surgeries in 2013-2014 has led some to dub this "The Year of Tommy John."
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