New York Yankees Lose Chase Whitley To Tommy John Surgery


The New York Yankees received the news they were dreading, as starting pitcher Chase Whitley needs to undergo Tommy John surgery, effectively ending his season. Whitely was forced from his last start Thursday with elbow pain, which the Yankees originally called an elbow strain and was subsequently placed on the 15-Day DL.

But, that ended up just being a precursor to bigger problems, as the Yankees will now be losing another starting pitcher for an extended period of time. He will now join Masahiro Tanaka and Ivan Nova on the DL. The only saving grace is that the latter two are approaching a return, while Whitley will just be undergoing surgery today.

Whitley had only made four starts this season before becoming injured, and was actually doing well prior to Thursday’s start in which he was forced from. He said the elbow pain had been bothering him for a while, and it came to a head last week. He will end the season with a 1-2 record and 4.19 ERA; an ERA which was a very strong 3.06 prior to the Thursday disaster.

Without having Whitely at their disposal, the Yankees have turned to Chris Capuano in the mean time as their fifth starter. Capuano made his first start of the season on Sunday afternoon against the Kansas City Royals, and things did not go well. Capuano was roughed up by a deep Royals lineup, only making it through 3+ innings before being taken out. The Yankees will need the veteran lefty to bring more to the table as they have been lacking production from their starting rotation all season long.

Outside of Michael Pineda, the Yankees cannot have much confidence trotting anyone else out to the mound. C.C. Sabathia has looked better in recent starts, but it still a shell of the pitcher that he was when he first came over to the Yankees, looking nothing like an ace any longer. Nathan Eovaldi is as hittable and inconsistent as he was with the Miami Marlins last season, and hasn’t taken the next step as the Yankees had hoped he would. Adam Warren has made it through six innings only once, leaving Joe Girardi to rely on his bullpen more heavily than any manager would like.

People will point to the returns of Tanaka and Nova as positives, which it is as the Yankees need arms right now, but what will each give them? Tanaka is a ticking time bomb, as the soreness he is on the DL for now points towards eventual Tommy John surgery, which he will need if his elbow ligament doesn’t hold up from the rehab he opted for instead of surgery last season.

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Nova is recovering from the Tommy John surgery Tanaka was unable to avoid, as he underwent surgery last April. He is expected back within a month, but expectations will have to be tempered as players always take a little while to come back from an injury that severe.

Starting pitching looked to be a strength of the Yankees going into the season, but now they are scrambling as a couple of injuries have put them in a tough predicament.

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