Yankees' ace starter Masahiro Tanaka has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with "right elbow inflammation" and has undergone an MRI on his right arm, as first reported by George A. King III of the New York Post. Tanaka will now fly to Seattle to be examined by team doctor Chris Ahmad, who will read the MRI and examine the right-hander in person. It is currently unclear how much time Tanaka will miss with the injury, which could change the course of the entire Yankees' season.
Tanaka, a contender for both the Rookie of the Year and Cy Young awards in the American League, has pitched to a 12-4 record and 2.51 ERA in his first 18 major league starts. He was named to the AL All-Star team over the weekend and has been the ace of an injury-ridden Yankees' staff for the entire season.
Tanaka has struggled a bit in his last two starts, allowing four earned runs in seven innings against the Twins and suffering the loss in Cleveland after surrendering five earned runs in 6.2 innings. According to CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman, Tanaka told the Yankees that he was experiencing "a little discomfort" in the arm, leading them to take the cautious route and send him to get an MRI.
When the severity (or lack thereof) of Tanaka's injury is known, it will have a major impact on the playoff picture in the American League as well as the trade market. The Yankees, who have seen starters CC Sabathia, Michael Pineda and Ivan Nova go down with serious injuries, recently acquired Brandon McCarthy from the Diamondbacks and would be sure to pursue more starting pitching on the open market if Tanaka is scheduled to miss a significant amount of time.