CLEVELAND -- Joe Girardi made it clear Thursday night that he has a pretty good idea of what is wrong with Masahiro Tanaka's elbow. He also made it clear that he has no intention of sharing what he knows with the media, a least not until after Tanaka is examined by team doctor Chris Ahmad, an examination that could take place later tonight in Seattle.
And the manager gave no indication of whether the information regarding Tanaka's injury is good -- as in a routine 15-day rest before returning to the Yankees' rotation -- or bad, which would probably mean season-ending Tommy John surgery.
"Obviously I've been told what maybe the initial readings were, but I’m not going to share that now until I have everything because I think you have to see what the doctor says," Girardi said before tonight's game against the Indians at Progressive Field. "I'm not going to give you any speculation. I'm going to wait to see what the doctor says and then go from there.”
Tanaka flew to Seattle today to meet with Ahmad, who is attending a conference along with many leading orthopedic surgeons, including the renowned Dr. James Andrews. The Yankees placed their ace right-hander on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday after Tanaka complained of elbow pain following a subpar performance in the Yankees' 5-3 loss to the Indians on Tuesday night. Tanaka struggled with his command throughout the game, and wound up blowing a 3-1 lead by surrendering home runs to Nick Swisher and Michael Brantley before leaving in the seventh inning.
"I would have never known after the game that there was an issue because we saw him throw hard, we saw his split was good," Girardi said. "He did spin one slider that didn't do anything and that was the home run to Swish, but at no point did he indicate that he was having a hard time."
Earlier in the day, a baseball source told ESPNNewYork.com that Tanaka was likely to be given another MRI, this one with dye contrast, while in Seattle, and be examined by Andrews as well as Ahmad.
Pressed on whether the preliminary reports on Tanaka gave the Yankees any reason for optimism, Girardi said, "As soon as I hear from Dr. Ahmad, I'll give you a report."
Tanaka was scheduled to make one more start, against the first-place Baltimore Orioles on the Sunday before the All-Star Game, which he was scheduled to go to but not participate in. It was unclear whether he would travel to Minneapolis for the All-Star Game, and Girardi has yet to name a starter to replace him on Sunday, although he indicated he might start reliever Chase Whitley, who filled in for 10 starts before being returned to the bullpen when the Yankees recalled Shane Greene from Triple-A Scranton.
Whitley threw 20 pitches over two innings to earn the win in Wednesday's 5-4, 14-inning win over the Indians and Girardi said he could throw the first couple of innings before giving way to a procession of relief pitchers in the Yankees' final game before the break.
Beyond that, the manager could offer no information on who might replace Tanaka in the rotation on a long-term basis, or indeed if Tanaka would need to be replaced at all.
"I think it all depends on what happens the next few days," Girardi said. "[Pitching coach Larry Rothschild] and I talked about it today and he said let's just get through the next few days to determine what we’re going to do."