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Tanaka apologizes for injury, vows to return strong

Tanaka apologizes for injury, vows to return strong

BALTIMORE -- In his first public comments since being placed on the disabled list with a right elbow injury, Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka issued a statement on Friday apologizing for his current situation.

"As recently announced from the team, I will be going through some treatment and rehab on my injured elbow over the next several weeks," Tanaka said. "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.

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"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."

Tanaka, 25, was diagnosed with a small tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow. Three different physicians recommended that Tanaka have a platelet-rich plasma injection and attempt to rehab the injury.

If all goes well, Tanaka could be back on a Major League mound in six weeks, though season-ending Tommy John surgery remains a possibility.

"I want to apologize to the Yankees organization, my teammates and our fans for not being able to help during this time," Tanaka said. "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."

Tanaka was off to a sensational start in his rookie season, posting a 12-4 record and a 2.51 ERA in his first 18 starts to earn selection as an American League All-Star. The Yankees have not said if Tanaka still plans to attend the July 15 All-Star Game at Target Field in Minneapolis.

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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