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Masahiro Tanaka issues statement apologizing for elbow injury


The New York Yankees announced Thursday that Masahiro Tanaka has a partial tear of the UCL in his pitching elbow. Friday, Tanaka released a statement saying he promises to "return to the mound as soon as possible."

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Tanaka will attempt to rehab the injury, but if his condition does not improve in six weeks, then he will likely need Tommy John surgery. 

He joined the Yankees this year after spending his first seven professional seasons in his native Japan. He was selected to the AL All-Star team after compiling a 12-4 record with a 2.51 ERA and 1.01 WHIP.

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Tanaka's absence leaves a sizable hole in the Yankee rotation, which has them looking for pitching help. On Friday, the Yankees acquired lefty Jeff Francis from the Oakland A's. The Yankees will be Francis's third MLB team this season. He began the year with the Cincinnati Reds, but was waived in May. The A's designated him for assignment earlier this week. 

Tanaka's full statement:

"As recently announced from the team, I will be going through some treatment and rehab on my injured elbow over the next several weeks. I give everything I have every time I take the ball. With that, I also know that there will always be a risk of injury when playing this game that I love. Right now I feel that the most important thing for me is to keep my head up, remain focused on the task at hand and devote all my energy into healing the injury in order to come back strong. 

"I want to apologize to the Yankees organization, my teammates and our fans for not being able to help during this time. I accept this injury as a challenge, but I promise to do everything I can to overcome this setback and return to the mound as soon as possible."

- Dan Gartland