After a spectacular start to his MLB career Mashiro Tanaka has looked somewhat human of late, allowing nine runs and a .333 opponents’ batting average in his last two starts. And now we may know why: According to George King of the New York Post, the Yankees right-hander is headed back to New York to undergo an MRI exam on his right arm.
No further details yet, but Tanaka has allowed a career-high number of runs in back-to-back starts, including five runs on 10 hits against the Indians last night. He tossed at least 100 pitches in 14 of his first 16 starts -- including 116 in a 2-1 loss to the Red Sox on June 28 -- but has totaled just 85 and 99 pitches in his recent poor outings.
Tanaka is in line to potentially start the All-Star game for the AL with a league-leading 12 wins and a 2.52 ERA that ranks second to Felix Hernandez of the Mariners. He also leads the league with three complete games and has thrown 129 innings with a 135/19 K/BB ratio.
And now Yankees fans hold their collective breath waiting to hear news on the team’s $155 million ace.
UPDATE: For now the Yankees have placed Tanaka on the disabled list with what is being called elbow inflammation.
-- Aaron Gleeman, NBC's Hardball Talk