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Yankees lineup vs. Astros: Wheeler called up, Whitley sent down; Tanaka to pitch live batting practice

Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees have finally pulled the plug on this whole eight-man bullpen thing as well as the Chase Whitley experience and have optioned the struggling righty to Triple-A. He was once a useful piece in the Yankees rotation, but seeing as how he has limited experience as a starter and is already well past his limits, it's clear that Whitley is too fatigued to offer anything anymore. In his place, the Yankees have brought up Zelous Wheeler, who will be DHing tonight.

Brett Gardner, Derek Jeter, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Mark Teixeira remain in their usual spots in the lineup. With Carlos Beltran out of the lineup after having to get another cortisone shot on his elbow, Martin Prado is now hitting fifth and gets another start at second base. Chase Headley is at third base while Francisco Cervelli gives Brian McCann a day off behind the plate. Ichiro Suzuki is in right field again with Wheeler rounding out the lineup, making for one ugly 8-9 hitter combination.

It has also been reported that Masahiro Tanaka will be cleared to pitch live batting practice on Saturday in his quest to return to the majors before the end of the season. If all goes well in a few days, the Yankees can then start to discuss the possibility of a few rehab games before he can be activated from the disabled list. While the team is approaching a point that they have nothing to play for anymore, the front office likely wants to see that Tanaka is healthy before the end of the season so they have a better understanding of what they need in the offseason.