NEW YORK -- The last thing manager Joe Girardi expected to hear midway through yet another Yankees' win was that his scheduled Wednesday starter, ace Masahiro Tanaka, was headed to the disabled list.
"I was shocked," Girardi said.
The revelation that the Japanese star will be out at least a month because of a mild forearm strain and right wrist tendinitis overshadowed the New York Yankees' 4-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday night behind Brian McCann's two doubles that drove in three runs.
Chase Whitley (1-0) was making a spot start that was meant to give Tanaka and others extra rest. But the right-hander from Alabama could find himself in the rotation for a while after giving up six hits and one run in five gritty innings. He was pitching at the same time general manager Brian Cashman was explaining Tanaka's injuries.
"Right now he's in our rotation," Girardi said of Whitley.
Brett Gardner had an RBI groundout against Jake Odorizzi (2-2) in the Yankees' second win over Tampa Bay in this series and 10th in 12 games overall. Chris Martin yielded a two-out single in the ninth before finishing for his first career save.
Tanaka started the season 2-1 with a 3.22 ERA and was superb in his last two starts, alleviating fear about the partially torn ligament in his elbow that forced him out for 2 1/2 months last season. But he surprised the team by complaining of pain in the side of the wrist when he arrived Tuesday afternoon.
He had MRIs on both the wrist and elbow, and the test on the wrist showed no issues, but it hurt to the touch. While the elbow was clear, Cashman said Yankees team physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad identified a "very mild" strain in the forearm.
The Yankees immediately chose to place him on the 15-day disabled list and he won't throw at all for seven to 10 days.
"We want to make sure this doesn't lead to the more horrific problems that we're all trying to avoid," said Cashman, referring to Tommy John surgery that would force him to miss 12 to 18 months.
Alex Rodriguez was given the night off after playing third base Monday, putting on hold his bid to tie Willie Mays for fourth on the career list with 660 homers.
The Rays spent much of their day working on the details of moving their series scheduled to open Friday at Baltimore back to Tropicana Field because of unrest in the city after Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man, died while in police custody.
And the Rays came out flat against Whitley, who was called up from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre for the start. Whitley made 12 starts for New York last year but was sent to Scranton after a solid spring to stretch out for possible starts like this one.
The Rays loaded the bases in the second on three one-out singles, but Whitley calmly took care of the next two batters on a strikeout and fielder's choice.
"I had to battle a little bit, but I felt good," Whitley said.
The Yankees jumped on Odorizzi for the second time this year. They scored three runs against the right-hander on April 18. Odorizzi only allowed two runs in his other three starts.
McCann, on Tuesday, had an RBI double in the first after Gardner drove in a run with a groundout -- aided by catcher Rene Rivera's throwing error that allowed Jacoby Ellsbury to advance to third base on a steal.
McCann, who had the go-ahead homer in the series opener Monday, then added a two-run double in the fifth. McCann improved to 10 for 16 (.625) against Odorizzi but he says there's no secret to his success against him.
"I don't know what it is," McCann said.
First-year Rays manager Kevin Cash said he should have had Odorizzi intentionally walk McCann in the fifth.
"The option, or choice, on not walking McCann, looking back, that's on me," he said. "We put so much confidence in our pitchers and in Odo, but at that point in the game, we very well could have easily walked him."
Odorizzi allowed nine hits and four runs in 6 1/3 innings.
Rays: Closer Jake McGee threw a perfect first inning for Class-A Charlotte against Bradenton in his first outing since back stiffness shut down his rehab program for elbow surgery. ... OF Desmond Jennings missed his third straight game with a sore left knee.
Yankees: INF Gregorio Petit was optioned to Scranton to make room for Whitley. When asked if demoting Petit was an indication INF-OF Jose Pirela (concussion) was nearing a return, Girardi said, "it could."
Rays: LHP Drew Smyly makes his second start of the season after returning from left shoulder tendinitis. He went 4 2/3 innings against Toronto in his debut, and Smyly said he is looking forward to pitching following a week of going through a regular routine.
Yankees: RHP Michael Pineda will make the start against the Rays on Wednesday afternoon with Tanaka out. A-Rod is expected back in the lineup as he chases his milestone homer.
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