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The Toronto Blue Jays bullpen took a massive hit with closer Kirby Yate picking up an injury.
After making the MLB postseason as the eighth-seed in the American League, the Toronto Blue Jays used this offseason to position themselves as AL East competitors. The team signed two huge names in outfielder George Springer and infielder Marcus Semien this winter. While the Blue Jays look like a major threat in the AL for years to come, their bullpen took a massive hit just weeks away from the start of the 2021 season.
On Monday, the Blue Jays announced that closer Kirby Yates has been diagnosed with a flexor-pronator strain in his right arm and is expected to miss multiple weeks. The injury comes after Yates participated in his second game of spring training this past Saturday.
Blue Jays: Toronto’s new closer Kirby Yates already set to miss multiple weeks due to injury
Yates was brought in this past offseason on a one-year $5.5 million contract with the hope that he can provide a clutch veteran to close out pivotal games. The issue is, Yates has not been the healthiest of arms recently.
Last season, Yates missed out on the San Diego Padres’ surprise run to the NLDS due to bone spurs in his pitching elbow. Through six games, Yates recorded a 12.46 ERA, a 2.54 WHIP and eight strikeouts over 4.1 innings of work.
Those statistics can be attributed to his elbow issues, but he is lights out when healthy. Back in 2019, Yates tallied a 1.19 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, and 101 strikeouts through 60 games (60.2 inning of work). Most importantly, Yates accumulated 41 saves in 44 opportunities.
With Yates already slated to miss an extended period of time, the Blue Jays will likely rely on Jordan Romano to take over closing duties to start the season. Romano accumulated a 1.23 ERA, 0.886 WHIP, two saves and 21 strikeouts over 14.2 innings of work (15 games) last season.