Tanaka out at least six weeks — now what?

The Yankees didn’t receive the worst possible news for Masahiro Tanaka tonight — but they certainly didn’t get good news, either. Tommy John Surgery isn’t necessary, at least not yet, as Tanaka will attempt to rehab the small tear in his UCL. Nonetheless, the team is without its best player for a minimum of six weeks, which will be the biggest challenge yet for a team already struggling to perform and stay healthy.

There’s no doubt that this will impinge the Yankees chance of playing October baseball, but they shouldn’t give up on the season now. Selling shouldn’t be an option with the division so mediocre. Best case scenario, the Yankees add a bat and another starter, remain in the hunt as September approaches, and a healthy Tanaka returns for the final stretch. Wishful thinking, I know, but as long as the Yankees are within striking distance of the division, they cannot justify selling off guys like Hiroki Kuroda or David Robertson.

As for Tanaka, we’ll just have to hope he bucks the notion that it’s next to impossible to rehab this injury and avoid surgery. Matt Harvey, for example, took that route to no avail. If Tanaka eventually has to go under the knife, the Yankees most likely wouldn’t see him again until 2016. Yuck. That is a long time from now.

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