Yankees' Masahiro Tanaka Suffers Apparent Head Injury After Getting Hit by Liner

Blake SchusterAnalyst IJuly 4, 2020

New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka delivers against the Houston Astros during the first inning of Game 4 of baseball's American League Championship Series, Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

New York Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka was hit in the head by a line drive off the bat of teammate Giancarlo Stanton during training camp on Saturday.

Erik Boland of Newsday reported Tanaka remained down for several minutes, and Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News noted he later walked off the field with help from trainers.

According to the club, Tanaka was "alert, responsive and walking under his own power." The Yankees later announced he was released from the hospital and will enter concussion protocol.

No longer the ace in The Bronx, Tanaka has become a highly valuable middle-of-the-rotation pitcher for a Yankees team primed to make a run for the World Series this season. At 31 years old, Tanaka provides the type of depth every club would love to have on their staff.

Unfortunately, injuries are nothing new for the Yankees veteran. Tanaka's time on the injured list is well documented. In 2014 it was due to elbow inflammation, in 2015 and 2018 it was because of a hamstring strain, and after the 2019 season he underwent surgery on his elbow to remove bone spurs.

Even more concerning for Tanaka, the starter is set to become a free agent for the first time since he was posted in 2013, eventually signing with New York for seven years and $155 million.

It's unlikely he'll come close to that mark again given his injury history, but a strong performance this season would still have many teams after him if he's unable to agree to an extension with the Yankees.

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When he's on the mound, Tanaka has been as dependable as they come with a career 3.75 ERA, 1.13 WHIP 947 strikeouts and 200 walks in 164 games entering the 2020 season.

The shortened 60-game regular season amid the coronavirus pandemic is scheduled to begin July 23 or 24.