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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The New York Yankees could be without Chase Whitley for the rest of the season after the right-hander went on the disabled list Friday with a sprained pitching elbow.
Whitley left in the second inning of Thursday night's loss to Tampa Bay with right elbow pain that had been bothering him for a while. He underwent an MRI exam and other tests early Friday and manager Joe Girardi expressed concern that he may need Tommy John surgery.
"It's not what you want, obviously," Girardi said before the start of a three-game series in Kansas City. "You just have to deal with it. It's all over the game."
The Yankees recalled right-hander Jose Ramirez from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to take his place.
In a bit of positive injury news, staff ace Masahiro Tanaka threw 35 pitches in a bullpen session and reported no problems Friday. Tanaka hasn't been pitched since April 23 in Detroit due to tendinitis in his right wrist and a mild strain of his forearm.
"We'll look at how I am tomorrow, make sure (all is well) and go from there," Tanaka said through a translator. "Just trying not to look too far ahead. Taking it day by day."
The Yankees have been plagued by injuries to their pitching staff. Along with Whitley and Tanaka, reliever Chris Martin recently went on the DL with right elbow tendinitis, and Ivan Nova is going through rehab following Tommy John surgery in the hopes of returning next month.
Chris Capuano, who is coming back from a quadriceps injury, will take Whitley's spot in the rotation and start Sunday's series finale against the Royals. He pitched six innings for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Tuesday night.
Whitley made four starts this season, two dazzling ones against Tampa Bay and Toronto and a dud against Baltimore. It was his fourth start against the Rays that he had trouble with locating his pitches, and Girardi first learned that he'd been dealing with soreness.
Girardi said that the 25-year-old Whitley will see team physician Christopher Ahmad on Monday before deciding whether to rest the elbow or undergo Tommy John surgery.
"You want your guys to speak up because maybe it's something that doesn't get to this level," Girardi said. "He said, 'I was still locating. I was still pitching well, so I didn't think much of it.'"