Update: Chase Whitley to undergo Tommy John surgery

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(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Monday, 4:36pm: Whitley will indeed undergo Tommy John surgery, the Yankees announced. Team doctor Chris Ahmad will perform the procedure tomorrow. Not unexpected, but damn. Sucks. See you next year, Ace Whitley.

Friday, 6:05pm: Whitley does have a torn UCL, Girardi told reporters this afternoon. No decision has been on surgery yet. He’ll see another doctor in New York first. Capuano will start Sunday and push everyone else back a day.

5:51pm: As expected, the Yankees placed right-hander Chase Whitley on the 15-day DL this afternoon. He has a right elbow sprain, the team announced, which means his ulnar collateral ligament has been compromised somehow. Whitley went for tests today and Jon Heyman hears the initial diagnosis is indeed a UCL tear, so Tommy John surgery is a real possibility. The Yankees haven’t said anything about the exact nature of the injury yet.

Whitely, 25, left last night’s start in the second inning with an elbow injury. He told reporters after the game that his elbow had been bugging him for a while now, but he didn’t tell anyone and tried to pitch through it. “Tonight (the discomfort) just carried over to the game. I’ve been able to get through it in the game, and tonight obviously you could pretty much tell,” said Whitley to Chad Jennings.

If Whitley does indeed need Tommy John surgery, he would be the second Yankees starter to blow out his elbow on the Tropicana Field mound within the last 13 months. Ivan Nova tore his UCL in a start at the Trop last April and had Tommy John surgery soon thereafter So I guess we can blame the Rays, right? Heyman says Whitley will likely seek a second opinion before having surgery. I’d ask for a second opinion before having my moneymaker cut open too.

In four starts this year Whitley had a 4.19 ERA (4.59 FIP) in 19.1 innings. One start was good, one start was great, one start was bad, and one start was cut short by the injury. Whitley nearly made the team out of Spring Training, but the Yankees opted to send him to Triple-A so they could use him as an occasional spot starter to rest everyone else in the rotation. Masahiro Tanaka‘s wrist/forearm injury pushed Whitley into the rotation full-time.

Joe Girardi confirmed Chris Capuano will replace Whitley in the rotation following last night’s game. Capuano threw six innings in his latest minor league rehab start earlier this week as he works his way back from a quad injury, so the timing worked out well. It’s unfortunate he’s coming back under these circumstances though. Girardi isn’t sure when Capuano will make his first start just yet. The Yankees have two off-days next week and don’t need their fifth starter again until May 26th.

For the time being, righty reliever Jose Ramirez has been called up from Triple-A to give the bullpen an extra arm. Presumably he or someone else (Branden Pinder?) will be sent down once Capuano is ready to be activated. There’s no need to activate Capuano just yet, so the Yankees get to carry an extra reliever for a few days. Ramirez, 25, has a 2.95 ERA (2.71 FIP) in 18.1 innings for the RailRiders this year.

Yankees losing a big bat during interleague play at a bad time for the offense
TiqIQ: Look Ahead: Royals, Yankees Prepare For Second Battle of AL Behemoths In Two Week Span
  • Yank88

    I understand you don’t want to show your hurt nor think the worse case ( hence this case ), But this could have ( maybe ) been avoided or at least taken care of earlier. :( Sucks

    • Game 3

      He seems dumb.

      • Some Asshole

        Or…if you’re a fringe MLBer, perhaps it’s a way to stay on the MLB DL and get some sweet, sweet MLB pay and service time.

        • Game 3

          He said it was God’s will. He’s dumb.

          • Some Asshole

            To each their own.

        • Bob Smith

          Doesn’t sound too dumb to me…..I bet you were a quitter and that is why you are not playing the game.

  • Some Asshole

    But…but…but…he only throws like 87. HOW CAN YOU BETRAY ME CHASE!?

    *inconsolable crying*

    • Bob Smith

      All I know is he was pitching 91-93 last season

  • Frittoman626

    Tommy John is starting has become a really annoying injury, why the hell has it become so freaking common all of a sudden??? Literally no one is safe from that piece of shit.

    • Pete22

      Because shoulder injuries are down due to better strengthening programs, which adds velocity, and the added velocity causes UCL injuries. Increase in UCL DL days is offset by a reduction in shoulder DL days. TJS has a much better prognosis than labrum or rotator cuff surgery

      • http://riveraveblues.com/ Mick

        Were you a LoHud Dr. or did you just sleep at a Holiday Inn last night?

        • http://riveraveblues.com/ Mick

          This cheap humor always goes over well here unlike the LoLHud for some insane reason.

          • Robinson Tilapia

            Probably because there was also a resident LoHud Holiday Inn franchisee.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Torn UCL is the injury. Tommy John is the surgery.

      • Some Asshole

        No, once you’re afflicted with Tommy John, he follows you all around, asking what you’re up to and what’s for dinner and making really annoying laughter while you watch your sitcom reruns on the TV. Usually takes a year and a half to get him out.

        • http://riveraveblues.com/ Mick

          Sounds like Tommy John got in his head.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          While he mutters “That fucking Guidry” under his breath.

      • http://riveraveblues.com/ Mick

        You are now in the running for Honorary LoHud Dr. of the Year.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          If it pays well, I’ll take it.

          • Some Asshole

            You get all the candy bars you could ever want. Just put your name, date of birth, address history, and Social Security number on this form.

            • Robinson Tilapia

              Considering we’re in the middle of potty training, candy bars come in handy right now.

              • captainmike

                so that’s why you are such a $hithead

            • http://riveraveblues.com/ Mick

              That is a myth you know.

              • Some Asshole

                Myths are real until someone kills the person pushing it. Maybe I just want to leave the office, by any means necessary.

              • Robinson Tilapia

                Please don’t break my heart like that.

                • http://riveraveblues.com/ Mick

                  It’s only a myth if you don’t believe it.

      • Frittoman626

        You know what I mean :)

        • Robinson Tilapia

          Of course. :)

          • Some Asshole

            Just like how when I’m really grilling someone, I give him a Joe Theismann.

            • Robinson Tilapia

              Yes, I did just Google “athletes with herpes,” in case you were wondering.

              • Some Asshole

                Now that one’s called a Fritz (Peterson).

                So glad I learned about that.

                “Got a little Fritz flareup, just need the ointment…”

      • captainmike

        Actually Tommy John is a person

        bumble brain

        here is the fact:

        Tommy John surgery, more properly known as ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction (or UCL), is a surgical operation in which a ligament in the medial elbow is replaced with a
        tendon from elsewhere in the body (often from the forearm, hamstring, or foot of the patient

    • Mandy Stankiewicz

      Never trust a man with two first names…

  • cxz

    What I wonder is if what he was feeling before hand was a partial tear, and wound up having to come out because he fully tore it. Either way, short sighted not to say anything, especially considering it was arm related to begin with.

  • TheEvilUmpire

    So I guess the likelihood of needing to keep Warren stretched out has increased.

    • Sir Didi Nakamura

      no bullpen for Warren!!

    • http://riveraveblues.com/ Mick

      June is a comin’ and 2 more starters are due back….

  • YankeeFan™

    Not a surprise of the possibility of tommy john.

    • TheEvilUmpire

      That’s the same thing Tommy John’s wife said last night.

  • greg

    really sad. For whatever reason, teams have to assume x% (10, 20?) of their pitchers will succumb to TJ surgery (or worse, shoulder surgery) at some point in their careers. So having 7 starters and 10 relievers of ML level is a necessity.

    • Pete22

      Most teams use around 8-10 starters in any given season. 40% of starters end up on the DL at some point during a season, and over 10% of pitchers currently pitching have had TJ surgery, a number that’s climbing.

      Of the 13 starters that made starts for the Yankees last year, 4 have had UCL injuries (diagnosed last year or this year). Assuming Whitley has TJS, 3 of the 4 would have had TJS . Tanaka has dodged the bullet this far. McCarthy of course was with the Dodgers when he got diagnosed, and likely was caused by his bump in velocity last year. Nova will be back soon.

  • http://riveraveblues.com/ Mick

    Why is Capuano going Sunday (I do hope he stars as Mike said above). Won’t this disrupt the staff inc Pineda who now will get his next start next Friday on 6 days rest.

    • HoopDreams

      Captain Eo starts sunday

      • RetroRob

        I believe Eovaldi has been pushed out a day now and won’t start this series.

        • http://riveraveblues.com/ Mick

          Why is Cap following CC anyway? 2 leftys in a row.
          Not getting the urgency.

      • http://riveraveblues.com/ Mick

        Not according to our resident guru:

        6:05pm: Whitley does indeed have a torn UCL, Girardi told reporters this afternoon. No decision has been on surgery yet. He’ll see another doctor in New York first. Capuano will start Sunday and push everyone else back a day. – See more at: http://riveraveblues.com/2015/05/yankees-place-chase-whitley-15-day-dl-tommy-john-surgery-possible-119671/#disqus_thread

        • Some Asshole

          6:05? Girardi is talking from the future!

          Oh, right, still in this time zone…..

          • http://riveraveblues.com/ Mick

            What’s with these late 8 o’clock starts anyway?

            • Some Asshole

              Beats me. I thought folks in this time zone loved being really early to things.

              • http://riveraveblues.com/ Mick

                It’s not even 8 pm it’s more like 8:10. That extra 10 minutes is killer.

    • Preston

      Getting Pineda more rest is exactly the point.

      • http://riveraveblues.com/ Mick

        6 days off between stars could disrupt their routine.

        • Preston

          Sure, and maybe he’s not as sharp on 6 days rest. But he missed all of 2012, threw 40 innings in 2013 and 80 last season. Keeping his work load down as much as possible by skipping the occasional start to keep his workload down is probably a good idea.

          • Some Asshole

            Plus rehab innings, but the point remains. Pineda will get the kid gloves as the season progresses.

            • Some Asshole

              I say this before realizing that da kidz these days pitch damn near year-round.

            • http://riveraveblues.com/ Mick

              Somehow I see all of this leading up to a Tanaka start with extra rest after his 1st one back.

              • Some Asshole

                Just got to protect his sexy imported mustache.

                • http://riveraveblues.com/ Mick

                  Why aren’t Arod and Beltran growing some?

                  • Some Asshole

                    Lazy Latinos…

                    • http://riveraveblues.com/ Mick

                      Seniority. Or is that sen~oirity, maybe senility.

                    • Some Asshole

                      The real question is, does Jorge the fish have one? If not, why is he being lazy by refusing to shave?

                    • http://riveraveblues.com/ Mick

                      Have heard rumors he keeps it shaved.

  • DZ

    It’s unreal how many pitchers are going down with these injuries. Definitely makes you wonder if there is a better way to construct/develop a pitching staff.

  • Robinson Tilapia

    All I can say is best wishes, speedy recovery, and that I think it royally sucks that a guy who’s had to fight to be a Yankee these past couple of years is suddenly hit with such a career-altering setback.

    EDIT: That’s actually not true. We can make fun of elbows in heads, LoHud doctors, and find ways to make this thread about trading for Tulo.

  • Elton Cod M.T.

    Unfortunately the hens are coming home to roost with the rotation, just like with the offense. It is time to euthanize the fantasies about Girardi’s bullpen management. Two UCL tears in the last month.

    • Adam

      Two?

  • Alex Reddardriguez

    I just feel so bad for Chase. He’s a good young prospect . In his 1st two outings this year he had a much better handle of offspeed pitches and keeping hitters off balance than the veteran CC. Ramirez deserves to be up here as does Jacob Lindgren. I hope Jose is up here to stay.

  • Frittoman626

    Imagine all the careers that would have ended had there been no way to repair the UCL, it’s scary.

    • http://riveraveblues.com/ Mick

      They should just ban the UCL.

    • http://riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      Strasburg, Harvey, Jose Fernandez … all would be done already.

      • http://riveraveblues.com/ Mick

        What did they do before Tommy John came on the scene?

        • Some Asshole

          Taped it together or sent the player to the glue factory.

          • http://riveraveblues.com/ Mick

            They just pitched thru it.

            • Some Asshole

              Wonder if that’s what Koufax had and why he left so early.

              Although I think he reported losing circulation in his fingers, and I don’t think a torn UCL does that. I’m no candy doctor, though.

              • http://riveraveblues.com/ Mick

                This is why Tommy John will never make the HOF. It’s all his fault.

                • Some Asshole

                  He’s in everybody’s head.

                  • http://riveraveblues.com/ Mick

                    If he never pitched none of this would be happening.

                    • Some Asshole

                      We could have been blaming Jim Palmer the whole time. Maybe not for the injury, but for something.

                  • Robinson Tilapia
            • Robinson Tilapia

              And their careers probably ended soon thereafter.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          They shot them.

        • captainmike

          see my above comment on mark the bird

      • captainmike
        • Some Asshole

          Fidrych suffered a torn rotator cuff, which would not be fixed by TJS.

          • Robinson Tilapia

            And, from overuse of the bird, a Fritz.

      • Preston

        I think Tommy John and Dr. Frank Jobe should get a tip from all those guys first FA contracts.

    • Some Asshole

      Imagine all the careers that could have been before developing a treatment procedure and regimen. All those hot new rookies that were never heard from again.

  • YankeeFan™

    Call up Lindgren so we can see that nasty slider against Hosmer, Moustakas and Gordon.

  • captainmike

    wow, I wasn’t ready for that !

  • HoopDreams

    Looks like another one is going down. Doug fister with forearm tightness after getting roughed up. And he’s on my RAB fantasy team…nice

    • Some Asshole

      SCORE!!

      I mean, erm, that’s too bad. Seems weird that everything has to be suspect.

      • HoopDreams

        I was glancing at the SP free agents and couldn’t help but laugh because almost the entire top portion of them are on the DL

        • http://riveraveblues.com/ Mick

          It’s a conspiracy to bring back offense to baseball.

        • Some Asshole

          Everyone else sucks. You may be better off leaving the spot open for some of them, dayum.

    • Pete22

      I knew something was wrong even before last night, he was not right. if you have Strasburg too you better dump him, he is going down soon too.

    • Centaur Hips

      Wow pitchers really are ticking time bombs. I think he’s a FA too. Might ruin his opportunity to cash in.

      • HoopDreams

        I was hoping we’d give him a look this off season too

        • Some Asshole

          Yes, but on the plus side, other teams should also experience suck like mine does.

          • HoopDreams

            Yeah, apparently the Texas Rangers go in a time machine back to the mid 2000s when you face them

            • Some Asshole

              FUCK YOU SAM DEDUNO!!!

              • Some Asshole

                I mean, yeah, he sucks, but so do the Rangers.

        • Centaur Hips

          Still some options left, but some will be pricey (no pun intended)

    • Sir Didi Nakamura

      Yoan-Moans Knew.

      • HoopDreams

        Yeah I mean, you have Joe Kellys fastball. The rest of the league is fucked

        • Sir Didi Nakamura

          Yeah, you are dumb for trading Cy Kelly away. Did someone drug you beforehand?

          • Some Asshole

            Anyone want a starter? Or a reliever? Or a handy?

            • HoopDreams

              Hit me up yo

            • Sir Didi Nakamura

              Curt Schilling is giving handy’s out to anybody who can throw 96+ MPH fastballs.

    • hansdee

      Set through a long rain delay last night. 15 day DL. I’m just never certain of the wisdom of that. Didn’t seem to hurt the other guy.

  • ahrmann

    “He told reporters after the game that his elbow had been bugging him for a while now, but he didn’t tell anyone and tried to pitch through it”

    It’s 2015. C’mon man.

    • Preston

      He was getting a real shot at securing an MLB rotation spot, was pitching well with Capuano, Tanaka and Nova on the mend. Doesn’t take a lot of imagination to understand why he wanted to pitch through it.

      • pat

        5 years in the minors ain’t no joke. Dude wanted to stay. You know, you never handle your luggage in the show, somebody else carries your bags. It’s great. You hit white balls for batting practice, the ballparks are like cathedrals, the hotels all have room
        service, and the women all have long legs and brains.

      • cxz

        I definitely understand and respect his desire to remain on the big league club, for that he gets some level of sympathy here. But it really doesn’t change the short sighted nature of his decision not to let anybody know about it until he physically couldn’t hide it anymore, not with how rampant serious arm injuries are in baseball right now.

    • RetroRob

      It was a mistake.

      I understand why he did it. Not sure it would have made a difference. History says once he was having elbow issues he was heading towards TJS regardless.

  • calripyankee

    E Jagielo with a 2-run HR in the 1st inn.. His 7th of the season.. Now hitting .299.

  • ScottinSJ

    Good luck to you, Chase. I don’t think he’s all that good, but you hate to see someone potentially lose his livelihood.

    Now we get yet another look at Jose Ramirez, who’s shown several times that he’s a AAA pitcher.

    • David Masino

      I’ll put the word in to the higher-ups to designate his ass for assignment.

    • Preston

      Jose Ramirez is 25 and averages 95 with his fastball. Since moving to the bullpen last season he has a 2.35 ERA at AAA. Not sure why struggling in his first 10 MLB innings shows that he’s a AAA pitcher.

      • I am Brett Godner’s ‘stache

        Play the Kids!!!!*

        *unless they struggle initially then call them AAAA players and dump them while wondering how teams like KC can develop a core of young players.

        • renzostew

          It took K.C 3 to 4 years to see the success they have now.You cannot give up on young kids after 100 AB’S.Bogaerts was supposed to be a monster when he came up he has 1 HR this year.Do the Yankees have the patience with young players?

          • I am Brett Godner’s ‘stache

            So far I haven’t seen much reason to think the Yanks or many of their fans have that kind of patience honestly. Something will have to give there somewhat though because the FA market just ain’t what it used to be and for some reason people aren’t hitting 50+ dingers into their 40s anymore either. Ive lived places where the big league team is going through those growing pains and its fun, but then again I’ve been kind of an interested bystander watching the development, but cheering for the Yanks in all those places so thats not really fair either.

  • ScottinSJ

    NY baseball going through a lull right now. Bartolo Colon is getting spanked by the Brewers tonight; it’s 5 – 0 in the 3rd.

  • ropeadope1

    I’d ask for a second opinion before having my moneymaker cut open too.

    Especially if you’re doing gigolo work on the side.

    • renzostew

      Whitley has had a second opinion.

  • RetroRob

    No surprise. Tough for someone like Whitley who is on the bubble. He’ll miss all of this season and a good chunk of next. Effectively takes him out of consideration until 2017, his age-28 season. He should be back by August next year, but even then he’ll be auditioning for the following season. If a Matt Harvey gets TJS, or if it was to happen to Tanaka, the team still plans a spot for them post return. Even lesser pitchers like Nova have a spot waiting for them. Whitley? He’ll have to show all over again that he might be worthy of a swingman role, or a spot in the big league bullpen, and there will be less tolerance for failure if it takes him another six months or a year to find his command.

    • dave_8

      All true. His TJS could really send his career into a tailspin. He might’ve gotten consideration as a 5th starter/swingman here or somewhere else if healthy. But someone with his modest stuff will have to prove so much more to get back into the fringes of the big leagues post surgery.

  • I am Brett Godner’s ‘stache

    Im still left wondering if all these pitch limits and innings limits actually have a negative effect on developing pitchers. Seems like a lot of the recent crop of pitchers are just about guaranteed a TJS in their 20s these days. Im not a doctor, I dont play one on the internets, and I dont like staying in Holiday Expresses, but this looks like a trend. Could be recency selection bias too I guess. Its Monday. Honestly I don’t kno knuffin’.

    • RetroRob

      I don’t do any of those things either, and I also don’t know. Every once in a while I’ll convince myself that it’s because pitchers are throwing harder and it’s causing a higher break point on the elbows, yet that really doesn’t fit the patterns because all sorts of pitchers get TJS, not just guys throwing 96-100. Chase Whitley is not a hard thrower at all. As a righty with a 90 mph fastball he’d be pedestrian 30+ years back too. I suspect many a young pitching prospect 30, 40, 50 years ago who blew out their elbows went below the radar because coverage just wasn’t like it is today. They’d keep trying to pitch, ending up being cut, most would never know why. Yet that’s still a fraction. My guess is it’s not one thing that has changed, but multiple things that are collectively causing this. Yet, really, I don’t know. If I did, or anyone here did, they could make an awful lot of money.

      • MB923

        I’ve read many reasons why (and why not), but one recent reason I read (though no clue how long this has been said for) was that little league coaches have been teaching young kids how to throw curveballs when they shouldn’t be throwing them at a young age.

      • I am Brett Godner’s ‘stache

        I’ve wondered about the ‘below the radar affect’, but TJS has been mainstream for a while now. Same with the kids throwing curves at a young age. It seems to me that the pitch count innings count isnt helping much and it affects the development of the pitchers IMO, but it sure is tough to see another factor that is causing all the injuries at such young ages. I know MLB is doing a study but Ive seen MLB studies of other things in the past and Im not certain that will yield much.

        • RetroRob

          Yup. I’ve been hearing about recommendations to limit curve balls through high school, but I somehow doubt they are. I also doubt kids are throwing more curves and breaking pitches as a percentage of pitches during games. I think they always have. I played high school, and my best friend was the team’s best pitcher. He threw a great curve. His arm was also dead by the time he graduated. I’ve heard talk that the way schools and travel leagues are set up today that kids actually throw more now than they did 30 years back. Maybe. Then again, you have some old timers like Jim Kaat who don’t think pitchers today throw enough between starts. Hey, who knows, maybe. All I know is that they limit and monitor pitches more today than ever. They discourage usage of certain types of pitches from sliders to splitters (not a coincidence that the best splitters today are owned by players raised in Japan), yet with all this work, TJS keeps rising. None of it’s working. Seems to be getting worse.

    • GoDucks

      None of the limitations actually seem to do anything to limit injuries, as there seem to be more injuries all the time, in spite of pitch limitations. The Joba Rules stand out as a failure of limiting a pitcher. Seems to me they might as well drop all of the limitations and let the pitchers go by feel.

  • captainmike

    I feel sorry for him
    but the number of these surgeries being done means something is haywire in the world of baseball

  • Wave Your Hat

    Fortunately for Chase though he blew out the elbow on the major league roster and not down in Scranton.

    • RetroRob

      Quite true. As fans we don’t think or care about things like that (nor should we), but minor league pay is abysmal, some think almost criminal. He was a 15th round pick five years back, so whatever signing bonus he got wasn’t huge and has long been since been spent. He probably just scored himself between $550-$700K over the next 12-14 months by being injured while on the MLB roster. I’m sure that’s not at the front of his mind as he’s no doubt concerned about the rest of his career, but it’s sure better than a poke in the eye.

  • Countdown Till Bryce’s a FA

    This is why we have Crapuano.

    • Mustang

      That’s so be comforting somehow. Pitching Whitley with a torn UCL they probably get or the same results as Crapuano…LOL

  • Mandy Stankiewicz

    God luck and good speed, kid.

  • TripleShortOfACycle

    Guess it was all in God’s hands after all

  • http://riveraveblues.com/ Mick

    The Yankees have two off-days next week and don’t need their fifth starter again until May 26th.

    ====================================
    Once again he throws away a game b/c of the rest factor.
    It had nothing to do with not wanting Capuano to run the bases in Washington.
    As if he’d get on base. Does he take us for fools?

  • Bob Smith

    Game 3……and what makes you thinks he is dumb?

  • mike carter

    lets go yankees sweep the nationals

  • mike carter

    will the yankees draft mariano rivera jr again

  • Monterocouldstillbedinero

    I thought he had a fairly “violent” delivery and release a la Joba. High risk.