Kirby Yates' ability to strike batters out is unquestionable, but the other facets of pitching got him traded twice over the offseason. The 29-year-old eventually landed in the Yankees organization, where he initially broke camp with the major league bullpen. However, he was shipped back to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in late June after posting a paltry 5.72 ERA and 4.4 BB/9 across 26.2 innings pitched. He dominated the minor league competition, but his return to the big leagues didn't provide any more success, as he sported a 4.09 ERA and a 4.9 BB/9 over 11 innings scattered across the final two months of the season. The right-hander's strikeout rate was impeccable as always (10.9 K/9), but his lack of control and propensity to give up home runs doesn't bode well going forward. He was claimed off waivers by the Angels in October, so he could garner a low-leverage role in their relatively weak relief corps. That being said, until he can harness his control, Yates is unlikely to be consistently entrusted with high-leverage situations.
Yates was claimed off waivers by the Padres on Wednesday. The Angels dropped Yates, a hard-throwing right-hander, from the 40-man roster after he served up two solo homers in his lone relief appearance with the team back on April 22, but the Padres saw enough potential in him to put in a claim. With Ryan Buchter, Brad Hand and Jose Torres having already established themselves as the top setup men to closer Brandon Maurer, it's not expected that Yates will be needed for much high-leverage work out of the bullpen.
The Angels designated Yates for assignment Sunday. Yates was called upon in relief in Saturday's win over the Blue Jays in what was his team debut, but after serving up a pair of solo homers, the Angels determined they had seen enough from him. The lefty will report back to Triple-A Salt Lake in the likely event that he goes unclaimed off waivers. Brooks Pounders was recalled from Salt Lake in a corresponding move.
Yates was recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake on Saturday, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. With Garrett Richards moving to the 60-day DL, the Angels opted to bring Yates up to the big club. In 41 games (41.1 innings) with the Yankees in 2016, Yates posted a 5.23 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, and 10-percent walk rate.
Yates was outrighted to Triple-A Salt Lake on Wednesday. Yates was designated for assignment after failing to earn a spot in the Angels bullpen coming out of spring training, and the other 29 teams evidently determined he wasn't worthy of a 40-man roster spot. As a result, Yates will stick in the organization and will need to turn heads in the minors before earning a longer look from the parent club.
Yates didn't make the Opening Day roster and will be designated for assignment, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reports. The spring season wasn't kind to Yates, who allowed 12 runs over 12 innings on 15 hits, three of which were home runs. Yates entered camp with a career ERA and WHIP of 5.25 and 1.41, respectively, and doesn't carry much fantasy value apart from a K-rate of 26.2 percent.
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