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New York Yankees News & Rumors: Masahiro Tanaka Will Undergo Tommy John Surgery, Says Pedro Martinez

First Posted: Apr 04, 2015 04:30 PM EDT
Masahiro Tanaka

Photo : Brian Blanco/Getty

Masahiro Tanaka managed to stay healthy in spring training, but former Boston Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez believes the New York Yankees ace will eventually undergo Tommy John surgery.

Tanaka, who was limited to 20 starts last season after sustaining a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, went 1-2 this spring with a 3.07 ERA and 13 strikeouts. While Tanaka did not experience any setback in spring training, Martinez does not think the Japanese pitcher could stay healthy in the 2015 MLB season.

"I don't see him healthy all year," Martinez said in an interview with SiriusXM Mad Dog Radio. "And I don't see him healthy right now. I'll be brave enough to say he's not completely healthy right now."

Martinez pointed out that while Tanaka showed flashes of brilliance this spring, the 26-year-old looked tentative most of the time and is hesitant to throw breaking ball and fast ball. According to ESPN, Tanaka's fastball velocity in spring training is down to 92 MPH from easily thing 97 MPH last season before the injury.

"The only pitch he is committing to is the split finger, and his problems are actually in a place where you don't need to put any more stress, which is the elbow," Martinez said. "And he's hesitant. He's hesitating to throw his fastball, and he's hanging every breaking ball he's throwing out there. Plus his velocity is not there yet."

Tanaka, who is scheduled to start in their season opener against the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday, said that he was surprised with Martinez's comments on his health, but the right-hander insisted that he is feeling good and is ready to make an impact for the Yankees in the upcoming season.

"I was a little bit surprised by that," Tanaka said through his translator via New York Daily News. "I understand that everybody has their opinion about certain things, about the way I pitch. But for me, I know where I'm at, and I feel good, so I think that's most important."

Tanaka, who signed a seven-year deal worth $155 million with the Yankees last season, said that Martinez might have based the comments on his performance against the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday, where he allowed three runs in 4.1 innings with only one strikeouts in 22 batters he faced during the game.

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