NEW YORK -- Masahiro Tanaka was cruising through five innings against the Mets and appeared to have at least a couple more frames in the tank, which is why manager Aaron Boone felt comfortable sending him to bat in the sixth inning, even with the Yankees trailing by a run at the time.
Tanaka tied the score by trotting home on Aaron Judge's sacrifice fly, but his effort in Friday's Subway Series opener came to an abrupt end as he limped back to the dugout on a pair of stiff hamstrings. The Yanks went on to win, 4-1, though Tanaka's next start is in question.
"I can't really say yet," Tanaka said through an interpreter. "We're going to be re-evaluating it tomorrow. I think we'll probably have a clearer picture tomorrow."
Tanaka had an IV administered after being replaced on the mound by Jonathan Holder for the home half of the sixth, and Boone is hopeful that Tanaka will be able to take his next turn in the rotation -- tentatively set for June 14, against the Rays.
"I wouldn't be surprised," Boone said. "I could see it being either way. I do think it's truly in the 'we're not quite sure' [category]. If it's cramping and that kind of thing, then maybe you dodge a bullet there. We could look at it tomorrow and it could be more severe."
Tanaka said that he left Citi Field feeling "pretty tight." Head athletic trainer Steve Donohue figures to clock some overtime on Saturday, when Tanaka is set to be re-examined as part of a cluttered Yankees injury report.
Judge jammed his left thumb sliding into second base in the first inning and expects to have tests performed before Saturday's game. Albertin Chapman also revealed that he has been pitching with tendinitis in his left knee and quadriceps.
Not to downplay the importance of those stars, but given their dearth of quality starting pitching, the Yankees seemed to be most concerned about Tanaka.
"He's obviously a big part of our team," Brett Gardner said. "Hopefully whatever he's got going on is nothing serious. Hopefully we're not without him too long, if any time at all. We always find a way to step up, whether it's a position player or pitcher that goes down. We've got a lot of depth, guys that are capable of filling in. So we'll see."
Tanaka had the bench cheering in the sixth as he reached on an Adrian Gonzalez error and advanced on Gleyber Torres' single and a walk to Gardner. Judge lifted a shallow fly ball to right field, and Tanaka scored his first Major League run standing up, but stepped awkwardly as he approached home plate.
"I saw the ball kind of drift out [up the baseline], so I wasn't going to slide there," Tanaka said.
Judge was shaken up after a slide into second base in the first when Greg Bird grounded into a double play, and was seen grimacing as he walked back to the outfield in the bottom of the frame.
"Not too concerned," Judge said. "Once I got up and felt a little something, I just kind of pulled on it, tugged on it. It felt good to go."
Boone said that Judge "checked out all right" after hitting in the cage and having strength tests on the thumb. Judge said that it felt sore after the game, "but nothing too bad."
"We'll run some tests tomorrow before I come to the stadium," Judge said. "Just going to check it out. All is well so far. ... It was sore, but we were able to tape it up and keep the swelling down a little bit. We were good to roll for the rest of the game."
Chapman noticeably struggled to back up the bases after Michael Conforto's lineout in the ninth inning, prompting a mound visit by Boone and Donohue. Chapman waved them off, then recorded the final two outs to seal his 16th save. Boone said that Chapman's issue is "not a big deal," as it does not affect his throwing.
"I've been working very hard with the trainers," Chapman said through an interpreter. "I've been doing a lot of exercises and work on it to get better. That's the plan right now. That's what we've been doing. … It's hard for me to tell the future, but what I can tell you is I've been pitching with it. I pitched tonight, so I don't think it's going to stop me from pitching."