Whitley upbeat about Tommy John rehab

Yankees righty says Nova is 'doing great' in his recovery from elbow surgery

Whitley upbeat about Tommy John rehab

NEW YORK -- Chase Whitley arrived in the Yankees' clubhouse Saturday morning with his pitching arm in a sling, a reminder of his Tommy John surgery earlier in the week, and the right-hander is hoping to return to the mound stronger at the end of the rehab process.

Whitley sustained what doctors determined to be a significant tear of his ulnar collateral ligament in a May 14 start against the Rays at Tropicana Field. He had the procedure performed Tuesday in New York, and is eyeing the normal recovery time of 12 to 18 months.

"That's the first time I've ever asked to come out of a game in my whole career, dating back to high school football, high school basketball, anything," Whitley said. "If I'm going to come out, usually I feel like it's going to be something [significant]."

Girardi, Whitley on injury

Whitley said that he had been feeling discomfort in his pitching arm for at least his past two starts, but he had no regrets about continuing to take the ball. Until the start against the Rays, Whitley said he had not even asked for any treatment from the training staff.

"The thing is, I wasn't in a real amount of pain," Whitley said. "It was just discomfort. It really didn't affect me until Tampa. If you go on the DL or say something every time you're in pain, you probably won't ever pitch."

Whitley said that while in Tampa, he spoke with right-hander Ivan Nova, who is continuing to progress in his own Tommy John rehab. Nova has been clocked at velocities higher than 95 mph and is scheduled to pitch in another extended spring game Saturday, then could begin a Minor League rehabilitation assignment.

That's a blueprint that Whitley wouldn't mind following himself.

"We talked a little bit. He's doing great," Whitley said. "We had a good discussion. [The rehab is] long, but just stay positive, and come back stronger. Hopefully that'll be the case, because he's doing phenomenal right now. Just talking to him, he's very happy."

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.