Tuesday, August 5, 2014
Every time you hear the name Masahiro Tanaka, you are at once hopeful and also want to curl up in a fetal position. The expensive Japanese import was having a phenomenal first season in Major League Baseball when he felt something wrong in his very valuable right elbow. If you listen closely you can still hear the cries of "Nooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" echoing throughout the country after his last start on July 8.
Tanaka had been taking it easy since then, but threw 25 baseballs (correction - previously reported as 50) in a light and easy game of catch on Monday. Today, Tuesday, he followed up with another 50 throws. Hopefully he'll feel as good as he did yesterday when he wakes up tomorrow morning after back-to-back efforts.
GM Brian Cashman's nails must be bitten down to the cuticle as he sees one of his starting pitchers after another fall to the wayside. David Phelps was the latest injury victim when he was diagnosed with elbow inflammation after his short start this past Sunday. He was placed on the 15-day DL forcing the Yankees to once again maneuver things around to put someone in the rotation to take his place.
Chase Whitley should not be that choice. We've seen how that experiment went downhill after a great start. Michael Pineda should not be rushed back either. He's just beginning to ramp up his throwing rehab. David Huff could be moved into that spot or Cashman might find someone on the waiver wire.
There has been a shift in the bullpen as well. Matt Thornton got one out in Monday night's game and was headed to Washington, D.C. on Tuesday. The Yankees placed Thornton on waivers and the Washington Nationals scooped him and the $4MM he'll paid next season. Veteran Rich Hill will take his place for now, while Cashman looks for a more viable replacement. Either way, the Yankees have some extra cash to play with.
There's already been talk by members of the media that the Yankees will promote their first pick (2nd round) in June's amateur draft, Jacob Lindgren, to fill the void. The Mississippi State University product was promoted to Double-A Trenton on Tuesday after one game in the Gulf Coast League, four games at Single-A Charleston, and six games at Advanced-A Tampa.
One look at the 5'11" southpaw's stats and it's easy to see why the Yankees and the media are thinking the 21-year old could join the team this year. What stands out the most are 30 strikeouts in 13.1 innings pitched. While he's averaged over 20 K's per nine innings, Lindgren has walked just four batters, meaning that not to many opponents have put the bat on the ball and put it in fair play when they did make contact. But before declaring Lindgren as a star as making, remember that he's not facing David Ortiz or a young Justin Morneau. Hopefully the Yankees keep that in mind when it comes to deciding if Lindgren should be fast-tracked.