NEW YORK -- The Yankees recalled right-hander Chase Whitley from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to make Tuesday's start against the Rays at Yankee Stadium, optioning infielder Gregorio Petit to Triple-A in a corresponding roster move.
Whitley, 25, was 2-0 with a 2.12 ERA in three starts at Triple-A. He had compiled a 1.17 ERA in seven spring appearances (two starts), but was sent to the Minor Leagues so the Yankees could have a sixth starting pitcher available as they endure a stretch of 30 games in 31 days.
"It was difficult to send him down because he meant a lot to us last year and pitched well in Spring Training," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "He understood why we did what we did. That doesn't necessarily mean that as a player you want it to happen or you like it, but he went down there with the right attitude."
Petit, 30, batted .208 (5-for-24) with five RBIs in 13 games for New York. His demotion indicates that infielder Jose Pirela is close to rejoining the big league club, perhaps as soon as Wednesday. Pirela is on a Minor League rehab assignment with Double-A Trenton.
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.