The New York Yankees lost their ace when an MRI revealed that starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka has a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament and could require Tommy John surgery.
Tanaka will be out for a minimum of six weeks in the hopes he can rehab the injured elbow on his pitching arm in the hopes of avoiding surgery that will keep him out into the 2015 season.
The Yankees ace will miss the All-Star Game on Tuesday and his bid to win the Rookie of the Year and Cy Young Awards are put on hold, and on Friday, Tanaka apologized for his injury via Jesse Spector of Sporting News that will prevent him from helping his team win.
“As recently announced from the team, I will be going through some treatment and rehab on my injured elbow over the next several weeks. I give everything I have every time I take the ball. With that, I also know that there will always be a risk of injury when playing this game that I love. Right now I feel that the most important thing for me is to keep my head up, remain focused on the task at hand and devote all my energy into healing the injury in order to come back strong.
“I want to apologize to the Yankees organization, my teammates and our fans for not being able to help during this time. I accept this injury as a challenge, but I promise to do everything I can to overcome this setback and return to the mound as soon as possible.”
Players get hurt on a daily basis, we saw Yadier Molina, Brandon Phillips and C.J. Wilson land on the disabled list on Thursday, but it is stunning to see a player issue an apology because he can’t help his team win as a result of an injury.
An apology wasn’t necessary, but this speaks volumes to the character of Tanaka and Japanese culture he was raised and worked in before heading overseas after signing a seven-year deal with the Yankees this winter.