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Tampa Bay Rays claim Chase Whitely off waivers

The pitcher underwent Tommy John surgery in May.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Rays currently have a full 40-man roster, with several moves still needing to be made in order to make room for notable top prospects who need protection. However, that didn't stop them from placing a waiver claim on now former New York Yankee right-handed pitcher, Chase Whitleyaccording to Ken Rosenthal.

Whitley was drafted by New York in the 15th round of the 2010 draft out of Troy University, and had an excellent professional debut rising to High-A at the end of the year. Whitley continued his successful start, climbing the ladder as a reliever each year, until making his major league debut in May of 2014.

Unfortunately, after a solid first month in the majors, Whitley struggled for the remainder of the year. The struggles would continue for Whitley as he entered spring training in 2015 with the goal of stretching his arm out enough for him to become a starter. He began the season in the minors so he could continue this goal. Whitley would make his season debut towards the end of April, and he delivered five solid innings against the Rays.

Just over two weeks later, Whitley would again face the Rays, but this time he left the game before the end of two innings due to elbow discomfort. An MRI revealed a torn UCL. Whitley underwent Tommy John Surgery later that month, and he won't be able to begin pitching again until at least June.

This injury may have been avoidable, as Whitley stated that he had been dealing with the discomfort in the starts leading up to his injury, but didn't tell the team doctors, then stated that he didn't regret doing so.

So far over his career which spans over parts of two seasons, Whitley has a 5.02 ERA, along with a 4.23 FIP, while maintaining a 18.4 K% and 5.6 BB% in 95 major league innings. He has a fastball that averages in the high 80's, a slider that averages in the mid 80's, a change up in the low 80's, and a two-seamer in the low 90's. Last season, he started to mix in a curve as well.

Lefties have dominated him thus far in his brief career, as they have slashed .326/.377/.542 against him compared to the .266/.316/.400 against righties in almost equal amount of opportunities (206-208). The Rays, who currently have a full starting rotation are likely to use him in the bullpen (once he returns in July) where they can control which batters he faces.