Masahiro Tanaka says he needs to do more cardio work in order to get into pitching shape. Manager Joe Girardi says that wasn't going to happen in Toronto, where the workout facilities for visitors at Rogers Centre aren't up to New York Yankees standards. No, it's not that all of the weights identify in metric amounts. The Yankees have played at Toronto enough to know they need to carry calculators with them at all times.
Without trying to start an international incident or anything, Girardi told reporters in Canada on Sunday that the ballpark's new weight room for away teams is too small and doesn't have "the modalities" Tanaka needs to rehab the partially torn elbow ligament that has kept him out of action since July 8. The facilities were so inadequate, the Yankees felt they had to send Tanaka back to New York to continue his rehab.
Girardi was clearly frustrated when asked by media about the move before Sunday's game.
"The facilities are better there and that's why we sent him back," said Girardi. "I know you get upset but, I mean, I told you why we did it. We're not hiding anything."
When a reporter insisted that they weren't upset, but that they thought it was an unusual move, Girardi became more animated.
"Has anyone seen the weight room? It's about as big as this area we're in right now, this little room," said Girardi, gesturing to the crowded visitors' dugout. "It doesn't have a SwimEx. It doesn't have all the modalities. I mean, I told you, I'm concerned about him. I am concerned about him.
"We just felt it was more productive for him to be there."
The best part is how Girardi doesn't want to upset his hosts in Canada, like if he's saying "We know CANADA has proper gym equipment SOMEWHERE — just not in the visitor's clubhouse. Don't get mad!"
Girardi's unhappy mood might be explained by the Yankees' flickering hopes for the postseason, which are related to Tanaka's injury. It's a frustrating time for the Yankees, who fell 4-3 to the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday, and sit 3 1/2 games out of the AL wild card with opportunities dwindling.
No matter, one has to question the Yankees bringing Tanaka to Toronto in the first place. Perhaps he felt isolated from the team — it would be understandable — but what a pain and a waste of time it all turned out to be. The Yankees visited Toronto earlier this season, in June, so they knew (or should have) that the visitor's clubhouse had "no SwimEx machine," which enables someone to swim in place. And even if they didn't, a phone call or email to the Jays might have helped them remember. And did they ask the Jays to use their SwimEx machine (assuming they have one)? If not, they couldn't find a SwimEx in all of Toronto somewhere? By that point, though, rehabbing in New York finally made sense to the Yankees.
The episode in Toronto is reminiscent of earlier in the season when the Yankees put Tanaka on several flights, cross country, in order for him to see orthopedists. Cleveland, to New York, to Seattle, and then back somewhere. At least that worked out, kind of. But now, Toronto to New York, and back — all unecessarily. At least he's racking up the frequent flier miles.
But it's still a huge longshot that Tanaka pitches again this season.
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