The statement comes one day after Tanaka was diagnosed with a small tear in his ulnar collateral ligament (UCL). The injury will keep him out a minimum of six weeks and if the 25-year-old doesn't respond well to treatment, Tommy John surgery could be down the road.
Here is what Tanaka had to say, per Bryan Hoch of MLB.com:
“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.”
The first thing that jumps out at you is the apology Tanaka issues.
While it is commendable on his part, Tanaka owes absolutely no apology to anyone in the organization or the fans. He has been one of the few bright spots for the Yanks in 2014 and without him the team would be completely lost without a chance at competing this season.
And Yankees fans know that.
Still, Tanaka feels the need to say sorry because all he wants to do is help his team and his undying dedication is already apparent. Sadly for the young right-hander, this injury is far out of his control.
Tanaka also need not let us know he gives his all when taking the mound. This man has left everything out on the field and his incredible performances start after start this season prove that.
Regardless, Tanaka's statement was classy in its entirety and struck a great cord. Not only did the statement make you admire who Tanaka is as a person and a competitor, but it also gave a glimmer of hope that Tanaka, who is already known as a hard worker, has the goods to get past this and return to the field in 2014.
Even if he can get back this year, the Yanks may be wise to go slower with Tanaka and err on the side of caution if New York finds itself out of the race in September when their ace returns.
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