Rays claim Chase Whitley off waivers from Yankees

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Dropped from the 40-man roster by the Yankees, right-hander Chase Whitley has been claimed off waivers by the Rays.

Whitley logged 95 innings for the Yankees during the past two seasons, posting a 5.02 ERA and 76/23 K/BB ratio split between the rotation and bullpen, but underwent Tommy John elbow surgery in May and likely won’t be ready to pitch until midseason.

At age 27 and coming off a major injury he lacks upside, but Whitley has a good minor-league track record that includes a 2.89 ERA and 178/60 K/BB ratio in 196 innings at Triple-A and looks capable of being a useful back-of-the-rotation starter or middle reliever.

A.J. Hinch: “If it was any other time of the year, [José Altuve] wouldn’t be in the lineup.”

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It has been evident throughout the playoffs that Astros second baseman José Altuve’s right knee is bothering him. Altuve battled a right knee issue in July, then banged it up again in Game 2 of the ALDS and it’s been a problem ever since.

Manager A.J. Hinch said that if it were the regular season, he wouldn’t put Altuve in the lineup. Per MLB.com’s Richard Justice, the full quote:

He’s hurt. And if it was any other time of the year, he wouldn’t be in the lineup or wouldn’t be playing. He’d probably be on the DL. … But he’s showing up every day in good spirits, ready to go, giving 100 percent of what he’s got. He should be commended.

Hinch also said of Altuve, “His teammates revere him. The production that he’s doing on one leg is pretty incredible. And he’s trying not to talk about it. And therefore I am.”

During the ALCS, Altuve has hit .250/.368/.313 in 16 at-bats. He has just one extra-base hit but he has racked up three singles and drawn three walks while scoring four runs. Hinch has had Marwin González start at second base Games 3 and 4 and is doing so again on Thursday night in Game 5.