Masahiro Tanaka
(Photo: Ron Schwane, AP)

Masahiro Tanaka was slated to start on Sunday for the New York Yankees, but the birth of his daughter on Friday may get in the way.

Aaron Case

When New York Yankees fans hear that Masahiro Tanaka might miss a start, his fragile right elbow is the first thing that comes to mind. However, this time the Japanese pitcher is out of action for a positive reason—the birth of his second child on Friday.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone, did leave the door open for Tanaka to return in time for his Sunday start. “We’ll see,” he told Daily News reporter Kristie Ackert. “That’s another thing, when we get through today, we have to map it out talk to Masa and try to get a feel about when we’ll have him go.”

The newest addition to the Tanaka family is their first daughter. Masahiro and his wife Mai already have a three-year-old son.

Papa Tanaka is in the middle of another solid season for New York. His 1.6 WAR leads all Bombers starters, and his 3.42 is the second best on the staff behind James Paxton’s 3.11.

If the Yankees do have to find a replacement starter for Sunday, they are possibly low on options.

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The ideal choice would be either Chance Adams or Nestor Cortes Jr., both of whom pitched brilliantly in their last AAA outings. However, those starts came in a doubleheader on Jun. 5, which would give them only four day’s rest for a Sunday start in the Bigs.

Other options include Luis Cessa, whose last appearance was a terrible 14-pitch third of an inning on Jun. 5. The Bombers have also used Chad Green as an opener three times this season.

Losers in four of their last five contests, the Yankees and their fans would love to see Tanaka pitch Sunday. But the game is in Cleveland, of all places.

No one will blame Tanaka if he chooses staying in New York with his newly enlarged family over flying back to a place that is the butt of many a comedy bit.

Freelance editor and writer, and full-time Yankees fan. Originally from Monticello, NY, but now lives in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.