MARCH 25: Yates underwent successful Tommy John surgery, Kaitlyn McGrath of The Athletic tweets. He’ll miss the entire season.
MARCH 23, 10:15pm: Yates’ elbow was also an issue during the offseason, as the Braves backed out of a one-year, $9MM guarantee, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports. The Blue Jays also reduced his $8.5MM deal, per Rosenthal. Toronto knew at the time that Atlanta pulled its offer off the table.
3:38pm: The Blue Jays received some unwelcome injury news Tuesday, Kaitlyn McGrath of The Athletic was among those to report. Right-handed reliever Kirby Yates will likely undergo Tommy John surgery and miss the entire season, outfielder George Springer has a Grade 2 oblique strain, and lefty Robbie Ray suffered a bruised elbow.
An elite end-of-game option with the Padres from 2018-19, Yates threw 4 1/3 innings last season as he dealt with elbow issues. That didn’t stop the Blue Jays from taking a one-year, $5.5MM chance on him in free agency this past offseason, but the would-be closer was diagnosed with a flexor strain Monday. It now looks as if Yates may never pitch for the club, which could lean on the likes of Jordan Romano, David Phelps, Rafael Dolis and Tyler Chatwood for saves in his absence.
The news on Springer and Ray also comes off as alarming, though neither injury appears especially serious. Toronto is hopeful that Springer, a former Astros standout who signed a whopping six-year, $150MM guarantee in the offseason, will be ready for Opening Day. Likewise, the Jays could have Ray ready for the start of the season. The team re-signed him to a one-year, $8MM pact in free agency.