Winter Ball: Yates Splendid in Arizona

Winter Ball: Yates Splendid in Arizona

Kyle Yates grabbed all the headlines Thursday evening with his outstanding performance in the Arizona Fall League. Yates, picked up the victory, tossing three superb innings, in a game that reliever Jordan De Jong, catcher Curtis Thigpen and infielder Chip Cannon also appeared in. Meanwhile, in Hawaii Eric Nielsen drove in two runs.

Before Yates took the mound in Arizona Thursday evening, a couple of his Blue Jays teammates got the Phoenix Desert Dogs off to a solid start. With a runner on second and one out, Curtis Thigpen sat on a 2-0 fastball and ripped it to right field for a run-scoring triple. On the following at bat, Chip Cannon drove in Thigpen with a groundout to first base.

However, it was Kyle Yates who stole the spotlight. Yates came on in the bottom of the third to replace starter Phil Dumatrait. After allowing an infield single, he went on to strike out the next three batters. Yates retired Ishikawa on just four pitches, and then on a 2-2 count he struck out Mark Reynolds swinging, before finally catching Bobby Wilson looking at a called third strike.

The right-hander recorded two more strikeouts in the fourth inning. He began by retiring Matthew Brown on soft groundout to third, but then allowed Andy Gonzalez to reach via a walk. Yates then settled down and got David Cook to strike out swinging, and caught Steve Moss looking at a third strike.

In the fifth inning, Yates allowed Danny Richar to reach on an infield single, but Richar was thrown out on the first pitch of the following at bat trying to steal second. Yates then caught Kevin Frandsen looking at a third strike, before getting Ishikawa to fly out to foul out to left.

In all, Yates notched three scoreless innings, in which he allowed just two hits, a walk, and struck out six batters.

"His [Yates'] curveball was unbelievable tonight," one scout in attendance noted.

Jordan DeJong replaced Yates to begin the bottom sixth, and was immediately faced with a challenge. After getting the count to 3-2 on Mark Reynolds fouled off four consecutive pitches from DeJong before finally launching the 10th pitch of the at bat over the right field wall for a home run.

Thigpen finished the game 1-for-4 with a run scored, and an RBI, but struck out twice. Cannon also fanned twice in the ball game. In just 11 at bats this Fall, Cannon has struck out 5 times.

Hawaii Winter Baseball

Eric Nielsen got a third inning RBI single Thursday evening, and drove in another run in the fifth inning on a sacrifice fly. He finished the game 1-for-2 with a pair of runs batted in, and also drew a walk. Nielsen is now batting .316 (6-19) in Hawaii. Nielsen is tied for third in the league with six runs batted in.

Ryan Patterson did not start the game, but struck out as a pinch hitter in the ninth inning.

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