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Jul 11, 5:36 PM EDT

Yankees RHP Tanaka apologizes for being injured

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BALTIMORE (AP) -- New York Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka accepts his elbow injury as "a challenge" and vows to return soon to help the team win.

Tanaka was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Wednesday with a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. He is 12-4 with a 2.51 ERA after spending seven years in Japan's Pacific League.

Tanaka, who hopes to avoid surgery, issued a statement Friday that said "I want to apologize to the Yankees organization, my teammates and our fans for not being able to help during this time."

He added, "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."

Yankees manager Joe Girardi says the statement "shows you how much he loves the game and how much he loves pitching here."

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