After a season of lingering concerns regarding his elbow, it’s a hamstring that will sideline New York Yankees ace Masahiro Tanaka (12-7, 3.78 ERA) this week according to MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch.
Tanaka felt his hamstring grab running to first base on Friday. He has a Grade 1 strain. Nova will start Wednesday @ Toronto.
— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) September 20, 2015
The 26-year-old suffered a Grade 1 hamstring strain after his previous start against the New York Mets on Friday and will miss his next turn in the starting rotation on Wednesday against the division-leading Toronto Blue Jays. The Yankees entered Sunday trailing the Blue Jays by 3.5 games in the American League Eastern Division entering their pivotal series Monday at the Rogers Centre.
Tanaka’s rotation spot will be filled by Ivan Nova, who had recently been demoted to the bullpen after being largely ineffective in his return from Tommy John surgery. The Toronto Blue Jays have posed the greatest challenge for Nova this season, scoring 13 runs against him, including six earned in his most recent rotation stint on September 12, pitching in the back end of a traditional doubleheader (Sportsnet.ca). Nova is 6-8 with a 5.11 ERA this season in 14 starts overall since returning to the Yankees rotation in June.
Tanaka’s injury comes on the heels of the Yankees losing their most consistent starter, Nathan Eovaldi, to elbow inflammation two weeks ago, causing the Yankees to rely on the 35-year-old CC Sabathia, who has also seen time in the trainer’s room the past few seasons as he deals with an arthritic right knee. With the injuries mounting and the season entering its final stretch, time is working against the Yankees, who face the prospect of competing in a potential wild card playoff in October without the services of Eovaldi and a banged-up Tanaka and untested Luis Severino as uncertain alternatives.