Chase Whitley leaves start with elbow injury

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UPDATE: Yankees manager Joe Girardi hinted that Whitley is dealing with a major injury. He also said that Whitley has been dealing with an elbow injury for a while, but kept it from the team and tried to pitch through it.

9:49 p.m. ET: Yankees right-hander Chase Whitley left tonight’s start against the Rays with what has been termed as a right elbow injury. Meredith Marakovits of YES Network reports that he’ll go for an MRI in Tampa tomorrow to determine the severity.

Whitley, who has been filling in for the injured Masahiro Tanaka, exited the game in the bottom of the second inning. He ended up being charged with three runs on two hits and two walks and now owns a 4.19 ERA through four starts.

Chris Capuano is nearing his return from a right quad strain, so it’s possible that Whitley would have been bumped from the rotation after this start anyway. The Yankees could have some other options soon, as Tanaka has resumed throwing bullpen sessions and Ivan Nova is close to a rehab assignment as he makes his way back from Tommy John surgery.

Reds are the frontrunner for Nicholas Castellanos

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Jon Morosi of MLB.com reports that the Reds “have emerged as the frontrunner” to sign free agent outfielder Nicholas Castellanos. Morosi says the Reds and Castellanos “have made progress over the past several days.”

The Reds were going to have a lot of outfielders already when they hit Goodyear, Arizona in a couple of weeks, with newcomer Shogo Akiyama, Jesse Winkler, Nick Senzel, Aristides Aquino, Travis Jankowski, Scott Schebler, and Rule 5 draftee Mark Payton. Senzel was an infielder before last year, of course, so he could move back to the dirt, perhaps. And, of course, the Reds could trade from their outfield surplus if, indeed, they end up with an outfield surplus.

Without question, however, Castellanos would be the big dog, at least offensively, in that setup. He had a breakout year at the plate in 2019, hitting .289/.337/.525 overall (OPS+ 121), but slugging at a blistering .321/.356/.646 pace (OPS+ 151) after being traded from the Tigers to the Cubs. In Chicago — rescued from cavernous Comerica Park — his big doubles power turned into big homer power. If he were to sign to play half his season in hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark one can only imagine the damage he’d do.