Hello Tanaka…. Sayonara Tanaka Yankees rookie Masahiro Tanaka shines in first half before becoming possible Tommy John victim a week before the All-Star break It was the typical Yankees signing. A seemingly forever-long contract for too much money for a player unproven in America. However, it wasn’t any typical Yankee signing. In fact, in the beginning, it turned outto be just what the Yanks needed, a dominant pitcher. Twenty-five year oldMasahiro Tanaka took his talents, his splitter and his 24-0 record in Japan to the Bronx for $155 million over seven years. In the first half, he was worth every penny. Tanaka started the season 6-0 before suffering his first loss on May 20 to the Chicago Cubs (of all places). He went on to win hi next five straight starts before losing three of his last four starts. Then “it” happened. The “it” you ask? After his last start on July 8 at Cleveland, Tanaka complained of soreness in his pitching elbow, which led to his worst outing of his young career (L, 6.2 IP, 10 H, 5 ER, 5 K) in the Yanks 5-3 loss to the Indians. The next day it was discovered that he had a partially torn UCL in his pitching elbow, an injury he’s never had before. (For the record, Tanaka’s never been injured before.) Currently, the All-Star rookie ace for the Yankees is out for six weeks and while doctors didn’t recommend Tommy John surgery, it’s not completely out of the picture. Tanaka held together the Yankees pitching staff and kept the Yanks ship afloat as the Yankees enter the break at 47-46, four games out of first place in the AL East. Tanaka can come back as early as the first week of September if his rehab goes well, however if the Yankees fall out of contention, he’ll learn the term Tommy John surgery sooner than anyone would’ve thought, or hoped for. For now, New York holds their breath.