Kurozukoru means “close call” in Japanese. New York Yankees starting pitcher, Masahiro Tanaka, got drilled in the head with a scorching line drive off the bat of teammate Giancarlo Stanton during a practice game at Yankee Stadium. Tanaka got a stroke of luck with a “kurozukoru,” and didn’t suffer any life-threatening injuries — only a mild concussion.

Masahiro Tanaka line drive head hit ball Yankees
Medical staff attend to Masahiro Tanaka (ground) after he was struck by a batted ball hit by teammate Giancarlo Stanton (far left). (Image: Adam Hunger/AP)

Meanwhile, DJ LeMahieu and Luis Cessa are the two members of the Yankees who tested positive for coronavirus.

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Tanaka (Mild) Concussion

In six seasons with the Yankees, Tanaka went 75-43 with a 3.75 ERA and 1.13 WHIP. Tanaka posted double-digit wins every season he’s played in pinstripes. After the Yankees added Gerrit Cole to the rotation in the offseason as their new ace, they expected Tanaka would be a valuable #2, despite the fact he’d be an ace on half of the teams in the league.

During a practice game over the weekend, Stanton drilled Tanaka with a line drive off his head. The exit velocity reached 112 mph.

Tanaka went to Columbia Presbyterian hospital for evaluation and CT scans. He displayed signs of a mild concussion, but all tests on his head came back negative. To quote the infamous Dizzy Dean, “They X-rayed my head and found nothing.”

“It’s incredibly unfortunate what happened today,” said Boone. “In a lot of ways, we’re hopeful we avoided something really bad happening.”

“I appreciate all the support,” tweeted Tanaka in both Japanese and English. “I feel it a bit right now, but I’m all good. Going to try to get back on the mound ASAP! Thanks again for all the encouraging words!”

Thus far, Tanaka has responded well to post-concussion evaluations.

Tanaka’s head-shot scare aside, the Yankees got a bit of good news with their other pitchers.

James Paxton underwent back surgery during spring training. The Yanks expected Paxton would miss three months while rehabbing. However, it looks like he won’t miss any time and will be ready to join the rotation when the MLB season begins on July 23.

DJLM and Cessa Positive

While coronavirus surges across the nation, two members of the Yankees were unable to fade the indiscriminate reaches of COVID-19. Infielder DJ LeMahieu and pitcher Luis Cessa both tested positive before the team arrived back in the Bronx for training camp.

Both LeMahieu and Cessa are self-isolating at home and will rejoin the team at a later date.

LeMahieu was asymptomatic, but Cessa showed mild signs of coronavirus. Boone said he’s hopeful that both players will return as quickly as possible.

LeMahieu, a former Gold Glove infielder, signed a two-year deal with the Yankees last year. LeMahieu quickly emerged as the Yankees’ best and most reliable hitter. He played multiple positions for Boone during a season that saw the team ravished with injuries.

Last season, LeMahieu hit .327 for fourth-best in the American League. He also smacked 26 home runs and drove in 102 runs from the lead-off position.

Cessa, a right-handed relief pitcher, appeared in 46 games for the Yankees last season with a 2-1 record and 4.11 ERA. Boone utilized an opener starting pitcher every fifth day when CC Sabathia went down with an injury. Boone used the Chad Green/Luis Cessa tandem in which Green would start and open the game in the first inning. Cessa would then enter the game in the second inning and toss three or four innings before the rest of the bullpen stepped in.

Despite Cessa and LeMahieu testing positive, none of the Yankees have opted out of the season thus far. Meanwhile, David Price from the LA Dodgers will sit out the season.

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