A Yankees rotation that absorbed a blow earlier in the week took another one Saturday afternoon.
The club announced that Masahiro Tanaka, who left Friday night’s game against the Mets with tightness in both hamstrings after scoring on a sixth-inning sacrifice fly, was placed on the disabled list with “mild strains” of his left and right hamstrings.
“That was surprising,” general manager Brian Cashman said of the double hamstring injury occurring at the same time.
Popular utilityman Ronald Torreyes was recalled from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to take Tanaka’s spot on the 25-man roster.
“I’ll throw a month out there, I don’t know,” Cashman said of a time frame for Tanaka. “Could be sooner, that could be long. But I’d rather under-promise and over-perform on everything if we can.”
On Thursday, the Yankees officially lost lefthander Jordan Montgomery for the season when he underwent Tommy John surgery. Domingo German, Saturday night’s starter, will continue in his spot.
“It’s certainly unfortunate, but it creates an opportunity for others,” Cashman said.
Cashman, who has been trying to bolster the organization’s rotation depth since the offseason, said that for now, an “internal” option will take Tanaka’s spot, though he declined to specify.
Righthander A.J. Cole, who is on the 25-man roster, has starting experience but is not stretched out.
Neither of the Yankees’ top pitching prospects, lefthander Justus Sheffield or righthander Chance Adams, is on the 40-man roster, nor is lefty Josh Rogers, who has been the organization’s most consistent performer for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre this season. Righthander David Hale has starting experience but also is not on the 40-man roster. One dark-horse candidate is righty Jonathan Loaisiga, a prospect currently with Double-A Trenton whom the Yankees, and the industry, hold in high regard.
Luis Cessa has been on the DL with a left oblique strain since April 18 and has made two starts in extended spring training. He will ramp up to only 60 pitches for his next outing, expected to be a rehab assignment Monday with high Class A Tampa, so he’s likely not yet an option.
“We pretty much, I think, have an idea what we’re going to do,” Cashman said. “But we’re not going to deal with it now because things can change injury-wise or what have you.”
Tanaka reached base on an error to start the sixth inning Friday and eventually scored on Aaron Judge’s sacrifice fly to rightfield to make it 1-1. After appearing to stumble slightly as he headed for the plate, he came in standing up, crossed the plate awkwardly, walked gingerly into the Yankees’ dugout and quickly went down the stairs leading to the clubhouse.
Tanaka, who was outstanding after allowing Brandon Nimmo’s leadoff homer in the first inning, was replaced by Jonathan Holder for the bottom of the sixth.
Tanaka called the situation “very disappointing” but didn’t blame the rules requiring him to hit in a National League park.
“It’s not something we pitchers in the American League normally do, but during interleague games, getting in the batter’s box, that’s part of baseball, too,” Tanaka said through his translator. “It’s on me that I got hurt. I don’t think it’s about the rules.”