Whitley (elbow) was optioned to minor-league camp Sunday, Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle reports. Whitley is recovering from Tommy John surgery undergone in March 2021 and never had a chance of breaking camp on the big-league roster. The 24-year-old has been throwing off a mound, though it's unclear where exactly he currently stands in his rehab work, but he could be ready for game action sometime in June.
Whitley (elbow) posted a video Sunday on his personal Instagram account featuring him throwing off a mound. As a player on the Astros' 40-man roster, Whitley wasn't able to work out at the organization's minor-league camp while the MLB lockout was in place, but now that labor peace has been reached, he'll have his rehab from March 2021 Tommy John surgery overseen by the Houston staff. Now that he's nearly a full year removed from the procedure, Whitley could advance to facing hitters by the end of camp in early April, though he won't be ready to go for the start of the minor-league season. Once the Astros are comfortable with Whitley pitching in games, he'll likely report to one of the organization's lower-level affiliates before settling into the Triple-A Round Rock rotation. Houston still appears intent on developing Whitley as a starter long term, though he could make his MLB debut as a reliever at some point in the second half of the 2022 season if he looks sharp in his initial minor-league appearances.
Whitley (elbow) reported to the Astros' spring training facility this week to begin a throwing program, Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle reports. Whitley underwent Tommy John surgery in March and still has another 6-to-8 months before getting into game action. That will unfold in the minors, as the right-hander has thrown just 86 innings of affiliated ball since 2017. The one-time elite pitching prospect has tumbled down the rankings since the beginning of 2018, when he was suspended 50 games for violating MLB drug policy. An oblique injury, a mechanical adjustment that led to a 12.21 ERA in 2019 and an arm injury that prevented him from participating in the abbreviated 2020 season then served to further derail him.
Whitley underwent Tommy John elbow surgery Wednesday, Brian McTaggart of MLB.com reports. Whitley felt discomfort in the elbow while throwing live batting practice earlier this month and could not avoid surgery. He faces a 12-to-14 month recovery period and could possibly pitch during the second half of 2022.
The Astros optioned Whitley (elbow) to their minor-league camp Sunday, Jake Kaplan of The Athletic reports. Whitley's demotion was merely procedural, as the right-handed pitching prospect is already slated to miss the entire 2021 season due to his impending Tommy John surgery. Due to the timing of his procedure, Whitley will more than likely miss the first half of the 2022 campaign as well.
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