New York Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka will miss his next scheduled start due to a Grade I strain of his hamstring, according to Sweeny Murti of WFAN.
Tanaka has Grade 1 hamstring strain. Will not start Wednesday vs Toronto. Nova in his place. Hope is Tanaka misses just 1 start.
— Sweeny Murti (@YankeesWFAN) September 20, 2015
As Murti mentions, the Yankees hope is that their ace will miss just one start before making his return to the rotation. But hamstring injuries have historically proven be tricky, so the team will likely play his injury day-to-day.
Tanaka last pitched on Friday evening, facing the New York Mets in Game 1 of the Subway Series. Despite pitching six innings and allowing just two earned runs, the Japanese import was not backed by the offense. The Yankees dropped the series opener 5-1 t0 the Mets, with Tanaka suffering the loss.
Tanaka’s line for the season sits at 12-7 with a 3.38 ERA in 149 innings.
Murti also confirmed that Tanaka suffered the injury while hitting during his last start. Since the Yankees were playing in a National League park, their pitchers must do something they’re not used to doing, which is hit.
In place of Tanaka, the Yankees will start right-hander Ivan Nova.
Ever since returning to the mound from Tommy John surgery this season, Nova’s performance has yielded mixed, yet generally negative results. Through 14 starts, Nova accumulated a 6-8 record with a 5.11 ERA in 75-and-two-thirds innings.With the team trying to catch the Toronto Blue Jays in the AL East, the Yankees announced earlier this week that Nova would pitch out of the bullpen for the rest of the year.
Yankees have removed Ivan Nova from the rotation. He will be available out of the bullpen.
— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) September 16, 2015
Obviously, those plans have been altered as Tanaka’s latest injury will force the struggling right-hander back into the starting rotation, for the time being. In addition to the hamstring strain, Tanaka has pitched 2015 with a partially torn UCL in his right-elbow, an injury he suffered last season. If Tanaka misses any extended period of time, the Yankees’ chances of catching the Blue Jays will start to become more unrealistic.
While the two teams will play a three-game series starting tomorrow in Toronto, the Yankees are already without Nathan Eovaldi. The flame throwing right-hander landed on the disabled list earlier this month due to shoulder soreness. He is expected to be ready for the playoffs, but likely not as a starter.
With his expected recovery period being four weeks, Eovaldi would simply not have enough time to get stretched out again. Therefore, if he does come back, he will likely pitch out of the bullpen.
Without Tanaka and Eovaldi, the Yankees rotation would consist of CC Sabathia (4-9, 4.93 ERA), Michael Pineda (11-8, 4.10 ERA), Luis Severino (4-3, 3.12 ERA), Adam Warren 6-6, 3.33 ERA ), and Nova.
[Image by Al Bello/ Getty Images]