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Masahiro Tanaka has partially torn elbow ligament, Tommy John not ruled out

Photo: Rich Schultz/Getty Images

New York Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka has a partially torn elbow ligament in his throwing arm, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told reporters Thursday night. He will begin a rehabilitation process, but Tommy John surgery is not out of the question.

According to WFAN's Sweeni Murti, three doctors agreed Tanaka had a partial tear in his ulnar collateral ligament. He will now receive a platelet-rich plasma injection, begin rehab and hopefully return in about six weeks. But Murti reported that if Tanaka's rehab isn't successful, Tommy John surgery is "likely."

The rookie Tanaka had the worst start of his MLB career Tuesday night, giving up five runs and 10 hits in 6 1/3 innings against the Cleveland Indians in a Yankees loss. He was subsequently placed on the 15-day disabled list with what the Yankees described as "elbow inflammation."

The 25-year-old Tanaka was named to the American League All-Star team last week. He leads all major league pitchers with 12 wins, and his 2.51 ERA is second in the AL, trailing only Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners. Tanaka's 9.39 strikeout rate is third among rookie starters. 

The Yankees traded for Brandon McCarthy on Sunday to bolster their rotation, but it was a one-for-one swap involving starter Vidal Nuno. Tanaka's injury leaves the battered Yankees rotation with yet another hole, as it is already missing starters Ivan Nova and Michael Pineda. Rookie Shane Greene started in place of Nuno on Monday.

MORE MLB: Is Tanaka finally coming down to earth?

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