We’ve seen Masahiro Tanaka working out at Yankee Stadium since being hit in the head with a Stanton line drive on the Fourth of July, but today he answered some questions about the incident.
Tanaka’s injury could have been a lot more serious than it was. We’ve seen pitchers get hit in the head/face and break bones, have blurred vision, or worse. While Tanaka was diagnosed with a concussion, he has not been feeling the effects since the incident on July 4.
Tanaka said since leaving the hospital the night of the accident, July 4, he hasn't felt any symptoms from the concussion
— Erik Boland (@eboland11) July 14, 2020
No symptoms is great news. Concussions are a fickle issue that are unpredictable from player to player. Masa also seems like he’s in good spirits talking about the scary moment.
Masahiro Tanaka said he watched the footage of him getting hit in the head “many times.” He laughed when he said it was multiple times.
— Lindsey Adler (@lindseyadler) July 14, 2020
After spring training was canceled in March, many players chose to stay in the Tampa area to work out at team facilities. Tanaka chose to bring his family back home to Japan because of “some incidents” that happened in Florida. Unfortunately these incidents were probably racist in nature towards Asian people.
Masahiro Tanaka did not want to go into specifics, but he said that "there were some incidents" in Florida after the conclusion of Spring Training that prompted him to bring his family back to Japan.
— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) July 14, 2020
Tanaka’s last dance?
Don’t forget that 2020 could be Tanaka’s last in pinstripes. I think the decision to resign the righty will be a difficult one. Tanaka will turn 32 after the season ends and, despite his strong playoff performances, has been consistently inconsistent in the regular season the last three years.
It has all washed out to a mid-rotation arm that the team trusts in October. I don’t want to downplay that because he does have value. But if Tanaka is looking to cash-in on a 4-year (or more) deal, will the Yankees bite? They just signed Cole for an eternity, have Severino coming back from surgery next year, and young arms under team control like Jordan Montgomery, Clarke Schmidt, Michael King and more. Also don’t forget that James Paxton is a free agent this winter and JA Happ’s contract is up in the air, depending on what he and the Yankees agree on.
So far the Yankees have avoided the ticking time-bomb that is Tanaka’s right elbow, but it’s not smart business to continue to test their luck in his age 32 to 36 seasons.
I understand the fan opinion that Tanaka should be a Yankee lifer, but I don’t know if Cashman feels the same.