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Fri Jul 11, 2014 7:25pm EDT
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(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.   Continued...

New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka (19) pitches during the first inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field. Jul 8, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports