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Masahiro Tanaka Has Partially Torn UCL; Tommy John Possible

Jason Miller, Getty Images

The bad news is getting worse for Joe Girardi’s starting rotation.

Yankees ace Masahiro Tanaka has been diagnosed with a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow, something that may required Tommy John surgery – the notorious procedure that would repair a tear, but also require 12 to 18 months of recovery time.

However, at this point, the recommendation is six weeks of rest, plus a lot of hoping that time-off will fix the issue.

Jared Wickerham, Getty Images

This news follows word that the Yanks’ has-been ace, C.C. Sabathia – who still earns top dollar – is likely to miss the remainder of the year with his chronic knee pain.

Tanaka – whom the pinstripes signed to a seven-year $155 million deal this offseason, plus a $20 million posting fee just to negotiate with him – has been dominant in his first season in the states. He’s tied for the most wins in the majors with a 12-4 record, has posted a 2.51 ERA, but allowed four and five earned runs in his last two outings, each time setting a season high for runs given up. It was the first sign that things may not be a-ok.

The Yankees recently made a move to help the rotation by acquiring Brandon McCarthy from Arizona for Vidal Nuno, but they either need to reach into the farm system or work another trade to find someway to eat innings without over-taxing the bullpen.

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