ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — When Yankees Manager Joe Girardi, sitting in the dugout before Wednesday’s game, was asked about the surprisingly sturdy health of his starting pitchers this season, he did not wait for the question to be finished.
He reached down and knocked on the wooden bench.
“The last time we talked about that, didn’t something happen?” Girardi said warily.
A day later, Girardi’s apprehensiveness proved to be warranted when he revealed Thursday that Masahiro Tanaka, the ace of his pitching staff, would miss his next start on Monday against the Toronto Blue Jays with tightness in his lower forearm. After five days without throwing, Tanaka could return in the final weekend of the season.
But now the question is whether it will even be worth bringing Tanaka back at that point.
After the loss of Tanaka, the Yankees’ slender playoff hopes took a hit on Thursday with a 2-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays, dropping them…