Yankees claim catcher Eli Whiteside off waivers from the Giants

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The Yankees announced this evening that they have claimed catcher Eli Whiteside off waivers from the Giants. It’s your move, Russell Martin.

Whiteside, 33, appeared in 12 games with the World Series champion Giants this season and owns a meager .215/.273/.335 batting line and a .608 OPS over 537 plate appearances in the majors. He is arbitration-eligible this offseason, but the Yankees may attempt to slip him through waivers and keep him as a non-roster player.

Whiteside could be in the mix for the backup catcher job during spring training along with former teammate Chris Stewart and Francisco Cervelli, though he is more likely to open next season with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Report: Shohei Ohtani has sprained UCL in pitching elbow

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The Angels signed Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani for a $2.3 million signing bonus last weekend. They may have damaged goods on their hands. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that Ohtani underwent a physical that revealed a first-degree sprain of his ulnar collateral ligament. As a result, he got a platelet-rich plasma injection on October 20. This was made known to teams after Ohtani entered MLB’s posting system, so it wasn’t like the Angels went into this blind.

Ohtani’s report said, “Although partial damage of UCL in deep layer of his right UCL exists, he is able to continue full baseball participation with sufficient elbow care program.” It also said Ohtani “will most likely be available to start his throwing program approximately a month from the PRP.”

Passan notes that the report also mentioned that a “small free body” floats in Ohtani’s elbow near his UCL.

Ohtani isn’t without other injuries. He battled hamstring and ankle issues throughout 2017 and underwent right ankle surgery back in October. Thankfully for the Angels, this diagnosis is about as good as it could be considering the circumstances. However, if Ohtani does exacerbate his UCL issue, he may ultimately need Tommy John surgery at some point, which would take him out of action for at least a year.