TROY, Ala. – Former Troy standout Chase Whitley will make his Major League debut on the mound Thursday night for the New York Yankees as the team takes on their cross-town rival, the New York Mets. The game will be broadcast on the MLB Network with legendary play-by-play announcer Bob Costas behind the microphone.
Despite being used primarily in a relief role for the majority of his career, Whitley will start on the mound opposite another pitcher making his debut, Jacob deGrom of the Mets.
Prior to being drafted by the Yankees in the 15th round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, Whitley played one season for the Trojans after transferring from Southern Union Community College.
Whitley was an effective two-way player for the Trojans, playing third base when not on the mound and also served as the team’s designated hitter at times. The 6-4, 220-pound right-hander pitched 66 innings for Troy in 2010, striking out 65 batters and recording seven saves. Whitley also batted .364 with 10 home runs and 56 RBIs.
“We are very happy for Chase. He has worked extremely hard to get to this point,” Troy head coach Bobby Pierce said. “It could not have happened to a better person.”
In 32 appearances out of the pen for the Trojans, Whitley compiled a 7-3 record. His talents at the plate were on full display in the 2010 Sun Belt Conference Tournament when Whitley batted .521 (12-23) with two home runs and 11 RBIs in six games as Troy made a run to the championship game.
Once in the Yankees farm system, Whitley continued to impress as he recorded 15 saves with Staten Island in the New York-Penn League. In his first full season, he tossed 91 innings for the Tampa Yankees of the Florida State League and the Double-A Trenton Thunder in the Eastern League. In 2012, Whitley was called to Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre, where he has played until now.
The Yankees have sustained injuries to several starting pitchers and decided to convert Whitley from a reliever this season.
Whitley will become the first former Trojan pitcher to start a Major League game on the mound since Danny Cox, a Troy University Sports Hall of Fame inductee, started seven games in 1992 for the Philadelphia Phillies. The last Trojan to make an appearance in the Majors was Clint Robinson, who had four at-bats in 2012 with the Kansas City Royals. Whitley will become the eighth former Troy player reach the Majors Leagues.
Former Trojans in the Majors
YEARS NAME POSITION TEAM(s)
1969-71 Danny Breeden C CIN/CHC
1983-95 Danny Cox P STL/TOR/PHI/PIT
1990-92 Ray Stephens C STL/TEX
1990-97 Mike Perez P STL/CHC/KC
2001-11 Mike Rivera C MIL/DET/SD/FLA
2003 Tom Gregorio C LAA
2012 Clint Robinson 1B KC
2014 Chase Whitley P NYY