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New York Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka was hit in the head by a line drive Saturday and forced to leave pitching live batting practice.

New York Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka is the first Bronx Bomber to go down as the 2020 season resumes. While pitching live batting practice at Yankee Stadium on Saturday, Tanaka was struck in the head by a Giancarlo Stanton line drive.

Tanaka fell to the ground and writhed with his head in his hands before eventually walking off the field with help. Then, the team brought out a screen to protect pitchers. Left-handed Jordan Montgomery then took over throwing live BP.

Meanwhile, Tanaka being struck by the ball may be seen below:

Tanaka, 31, was expected to be the Yankees’ No. 2 starter behind Gerrit Cole this year. He went 11-9 with a 4.45 ERA last year and made his second All-Star Game. Tanaka is also in the last year of his contract ahead of free agency next offseason.

Make no mistake. This was scary to watch, especially since it wasn’t that long ago when Alex Cobb took a liner to the head and was stretchered off the field.

That said, there are some silver linings to Tanaka’s situation. First, he wasn’t visibly bleeding and won’t need stitches. That may seem small but in the age of COVID-19, the less medical intervention the better. Second, Tanaka appeared to be fairly alert while walking off the field, albeit with assistance.

And what does this mean for the New York Yankees? Well, that’s a good question. Tanaka surely got checked for a concussion on and off the field, and steps will be taken accordingly depending on the results of those tests.

This is purely speculative, but the best thing the team can do is monitor Tanaka and maybe shut him down for a week. Concussions are no joke and the last thing the Yankees need is for Tanaka to go on the injured list in a shortened season. There is little to no margin for error in 2020, and another injury-ravaged roster won’t win a World Series.

Hopefully, Masahiro Tanaka just got his bell rung hard and doesn’t miss extended time.

Josh Benjamin has been a staff writer at ESNY since 2018. He has had opinions about everything, especially the Yankees and Knicks. He co-hosts the “Bleacher Creatures” podcast and is always looking for new pieces of sports history to uncover, usually with a Yankee Tavern chicken parm sub in hand.