(The Sports Xchange) - Japanese pitching sensation Masahiro Tanaka apologized Friday to the New York Yankees, his teammates and fans for being sidelined by a partially torn ligament in his right elbow.
Tanaka, who was placed on the disabled list Wednesday, will initially attempt non-surgical intervention that includes a platelet-rich plasma injection before starting a throwing program.
On Friday, Tanaka released a statement on his injury:
”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.”
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Thursday that Tanaka visited three doctors and each one confirmed a small ligament tear in his ulnar collateral ligament. Cashman said Tanaka could return in six weeks, but he did not rule out the possibility of Tommy John surgery if the right-hander does not respond to a rehab program.
The 25-year-old Tanaka was off to a strong start in his first season with the Yankees after signing a seven-year, $155 million contract during the winter. He has a 12-4 record and 2.51 ERA with 135 strikeouts in 18 starts, but he was 1-3 with a 4.25 ERA in his last four outings.
The Yankees acquired veteran left-hander Jeff Francis and cash considerations from the Oakland Athletics for a player to be named later.
Francis, 33, is 0-2 with a 5.89 ERA in 10 appearances (one start) with Oakland this season.
Texas Rangers catcher Geovany Soto was arrested Wednesday night in Grapevine, Texas, and charged with marijuana possession.
The 31-year-old Soto was released after posting $500 bail. The charge is a misdemeanor because he had less than two ounces, according to the Grapevine Police Department.
Soto suffered a left knee injury in March and has not played yet this season for the Rangers.
The St. Louis Cardinals claimed catcher George Kottaras off waivers from the Cleveland Indians.
The Cardinals needed depth at catcher after losing Yadier Molina to a torn thumb ligament. Molina is expected to be out eight to 12 weeks.
Kottaras, 31, owns a .216 career batting mark with 32 homers and 100 RBIs in 305 games between Boston (2008-09), Milwaukee (2010-12), Oakland (2102), Kansas City (2013) and Cleveland (2014).
The Cardinals also activated right-handed pitcher Joe Kelly (left hamstring) from the 60-day disabled list and optioned left-handed pitcher Tyler Lyons to Triple-A Memphis. Left-hander Jaime Garcia was transferred from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day DL.
The Baltimore Orioles placed right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez on the 15-day disabled list with an ankle injury.
The 30-year-old Jimenez sprained his right ankle while working out this week. He last pitched in a game a week ago against the Boston Red Sox and was scheduled to pitch Saturday against the New York Yankees.
Cincinnati Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips underwent surgery to repair torn ligaments in his left thumb. Phillips was placed on the 15-day disabled list and is expected to miss six weeks.
Editing by Gene Cherry