Yarbrough, 27, was recalled yesterday following an April 24th demotion, but was not needed given the postponement of the Rays’ Sunday tilt in Baltimore. Yarbrough has been scored upon in four of his five appearances this year, resulting in an 8.10 ERA in 16 2/3 frames. He’ll head back to Triple-A Durham following a 2018 season that resulted in a fifth place Rookie of the Year finish, with a lone vote from Dick Scanlon of the Lakeland Ledger. Scanlon’s was the only Rookie of the Year ballot to omit Shohei Ohtani. Last year, Yarbrough was able to rack up 16 wins serving as the Rays’ self-termed “bulk guy” or primary pitcher, the hurler who follows the team’s opener. In this capacity, Yarbrough made 32 relief appearances, averaging about 3.7 innings each time.
Velazquez, 24, made his big league debut for the Rays last year as a September call-up. According to the Baseball America Handbook, Velazquez’s “ability to play an excellent center field, second, shortstop, or third base makes him a useful utility-man.” Indeed, Velazquez has logged innings at all of those positions for the Durham Bulls. A seventh round pick of the Diamondbacks in 2012, Velazquez was shipped along with Justin Williams to the Rays for Jeremy Hellickson in November 2014.
The Rays, currently owners of the best record in baseball, will move to a 12-man pitching staff for the time being. This puts the Rays in the minority for the American League, where two-thirds of clubs run with a 13-man pitching staff at the moment.