I’ve mentioned it more than once, more than twice. I have written a ton of posts on New York Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka alone and mentioned this point in oh so many others. I’ve mentioned it almost every time I’ve written about someone going down with Tommy John surgery.
Tanaka should have had surgery last season instead of trying to use rest and rehab in order to repair his partially torn ulnar collateral ligament. Bad plan. It was just that a bad plan. The majority of pitchers who go that route ultimately succumb to having the Tommy John procedure in the end. It seems like the only way to give the player a real chance at continuing in their career.
So now Tanaka is on the 15-day disabled list with a “very-mild forearm strain” and wrist tendinitis . However, it feels like it’s a bit more than a mild strain. Forearm strains are often the precursor to elbow issues and as I just noted, Tanaka has/had a partially torn UCL.
With so many Tommy John surgeries in the past few seasons even hearing the words “forearm strain” automatically brings to mind Tommy John. It just does. The Los Angeles Dodgers‘ Brandon McCarthy being the latest casualty to the procedure was the 13th player so far this season to go down.
There will only be more to come if the past few seasons have been any indication. An MLB record 46 players underwent the surgery, which can take up to 18 months to recover from went down in 2012. 25 players had the procedure in 2013 and 29 missed the 2014 season due to a UCL tear according to MLBReports.com.
General manager Brian Cashman has even admitted that he expects Tanaka to be out longer than the required 15 days once a player is placed on the DL. Cashman said it could be a month even, according to Tyler Kepner of the New York Times.
Cashman said “conservatively” it would be a month before Tanaka returns to Yankees.
— Tyler Kepner (@TylerKepner) April 29, 2015
The Yankees are a little too obviously covering up something that is pretty blatant, Tanaka’s forearm strain has them scared to death. If they are not, then they’re in denial but, all of this, combining the forearm problem with wrist tendinitis – it just reeks of them covering up something bigger.
That something bigger is that Tanaka took the wrong path and they allowed him to do it. They allowed him to take the rest and rehab route and even comeback to make two starts in September. At the time I was thinking, “Well that’s pretty stupid.” I’ll bet that is what the Yankees are thinking right about now.