A paternity-leave stint put a brief hold on what’s been Kirby Yates’ best MLB season, but the San Diego Padres will get the right-handed reliever back in advance of their work-week series against the Colorado Rockies in Denver.
The Padres reinstated Yates on Monday and optioned Jose Valdez, a fellow relief arm they called up to replace Yates on the roster, back to Triple-A El Paso. Yates will return to his middle-relief role, one he’s excelled in during his first months as a Padre.
Although the Padres are 11 games under .500 (40-51) and 23 games behind the soaring Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West, they have gotten quality work from the 30-year-old Yates. Since joining the Padres after the organization claimed him off waivers from the Los Angeles Angels in April, Yates has made 30 appearances and enters Monday night’s game with a 1.93 ERA. Considering he finished last season with a near-8.00 ERA as a member of the New York Yankees bullpen, this marks a major step forward for the former 26th-round Boston Red Sox draft pick.
With Brad Hand looming as a possible trade piece for the rebuilding Padres, Yates could be in line for a more prominent role if the club finds a deal it likes. Yates is holding right-handed bats to a .179 average and has struck out a career-best 13.5 batters per nine innings.
Also beginning his season as a member of the Angels before landing with the Padres, Valdez has not had as much luck as Yates in getting outs. The right-handed reliever holds a 7.00 ERA in six appearances.