Questions about Masahiro Tanaka’s elbow rise after another brutal outing


When a pitcher usually has a brutal outing, the first question is what pitches the pitcher didn’t have working for him and what he plans on doing to make his next outing a success. In the case of Masahiro Tanaka, the first question anyone would ask is “how’s his elbow?”. Tanaka continues to insist his elbow is fine and he’s pitching with no worries, but many are beginning to question it after Tanaka had back-to-back brutal outings, this time giving up six runs in five innings of work against the Houston Astros.

Tanaka is still labeled the Yankees ace in the clubhouse, and Joe Girardi insists the elbow isn’t the issue, but rather Tanaka’s mechanics which they hope to have sorted out before his next start.

“We’ll get it ironed out,” Girardi said after last night’s 9-6 win over the Astros. “We know what he’s capable of doing.”

Tanaka himself feels rather calm. He¬†explained that he used to go through these stretches when¬†he was in Japan, and it happening here is nothing new. However, with his elbow injury last season, everyone’s on alert and immediately pointing fingers towards his elbow, questioning if it really is as healthy as perceived.

“Just kept missing my spots, wasn’t able to do what I wanted to do,” Tanaka said after his brutal outing. “But I just have to keep on working at it and get it right.”

The team agrees with Tanaka, and they continue to stick with the story that his elbow is 100% okay. Maybe the Yankees are downplaying the issue, or maybe Tanaka really doesn’t feel anything in the elbow. The key indicator the Yankees believe Tanaka’s elbow is fine is his velocity.

“I think if you see a guy throwing 93, 94 [mph] and he’s not holding his arm, you feel pretty good about his health,” Girardi said.

Although Tanaka’s velocity was good, Tanaka himself wasn’t, and the Yankees need to get Tanaka back on track so he can go back to his dominant self and not be another inconsistent pitcher in the starting rotation.

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7 Responses to Questions about Masahiro Tanaka’s elbow rise after another brutal outing

  1. Gerry says:

    Tanaka is having problems with his mechanics. If you examine his early Yankee pitching with his last outing you will notice the mechanical difference. A few hours with the pitching coach should rectify the issue.

    • Terry says:

      I hope you're right.But if it's that easy, why didn't they iron it out after the last start.Velocity alone is not the best indicator.Located velocity and located off speed, mainly down not left up,are better barometers.Hopefully he's okay,we need him

    • BigArmy says:

      Can you be more specific please? What in his mechanics has changed?

  2. YankezFan says:

    I think what's wrong with Tanaka is his slider and splitter are not as good as they were last year. Yesterday his slider got ripped into the seats 3 times. He's too inconsistent with it, much like Pineada with his offspeed stuff. It could be a mental thing where he dosnt want to over strain the arm, from what i understand offspeed pitchs like the slider and splitter put a lot of pressure on the elbow/forearm. If hes feeling fine, he has to figure out a way to get these pitches over, otherwise this will become a more regular occurance. Hope they figure it out anyway, gonna need him now that the season is starting.

  3. hotdog says:

    he said he went through these stretches in Japan…right…i can't say what the problem is but he may just be inconsistent, period…it may be about velocity, mechanics, pitch selection and command but he may have been able to get away with his "B" game in Japan while here in the U.S., you're facing better hitters and his "B" will open up the flood gates…what he needs to learn is how to better compensate when he doesn't have his best stuff…

  4. Michael R says:

    Pitchers often alter their mechanics to compensate for pain or discomfort. Certainly that possibility cannot be ruled out, especially since he refuses to throw the 4 seam fastball.

    • mick says:

      That's where I'm going, Michael. His two seam fastball velocity is fine. But it's another pitch that works down in the zone, and doesn't compliment his bender, or his splitter. The four seam fastball was a pitch up in the zone, that changes the hitter's eye level. And, you are spot on, in that he rarely throws the four seamer. hotdog also makes a solid point that no "b" game plays well in MLB.

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