How Concerned Should We Be About Tanaka? [AUDIO]
Masahiro Tanaka only got through four innings in his season opener on Monday, becoming his career-worst performance at Yankee Stadium.
With three different doctors telling the Pinstripes last year that the ace would not need Tommy John surgery, Brian Cashman, Joe Girardi and the Yankees, spent all week telling the media that there was nothing to be worried about.
"I don’t think we should be concerned yet," said Buster Olney, on 104.5 The Team. "You guys saw the narrative that came out of that game. He’s not throwing as hard and his pitch selection is different and he’s not showing any confidence in his fastball.
"If you go back and look at the numbers, the actual numbers don’t reflect any of that. His average fastball velocity for last season was 91.1 and his average fastball velocity on Monday was 90.9. It was virtually identical.
"He had starts last year where he had the same type of pitch selection even before he was injured where he’d throw 30 % fastballs and some cutters and mostly off-speed pitches, and that’s not unusual for him.
"It may simply have been a function of him facing a really good lineup in the Toronto Blue Jays, known to be great fastball hitters, and that’s why I think we need more information."
Meanwhile, former Yankee and current analyst Jim Leyritz wasn't as optimistic.
"I think he’s already given us a reason to start worrying," said Leyritz, with Armen and Levack. "He just didn’t have that confidence that he normally has. Two or three more outings and I think he’s going to have to look at it and go 'look at [Matt Harvey], he just did his Tommy John surgery, and he’s coming back, and he doesn’t look like anything can stop him, maybe it’s time to take care of myself and get this thing taken care of.'”
Tanaka's next outing is Sunday night against the Boston Red Sox.
Former Yankee Jim Leyritz joins Armen and Levack every Wednesday at 5:15p on 104.5 The Team, thanks to Red Wings Shoes in Clifton Park.
ESPN MLB Analyst Buster Olney is on 104.5 The Team with Armen and Levack every Thursday at 5:15p, thanks to Buffalo Wild Wings.