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Wednesday September 22nd, 2021 11:23AM

Jays' Yates faces year-ending elbow surgery; Springer ailing

By The Associated Press

TORONTO (AP) — Toronto Blue Jays reliever Kirby Yates is expected to have season-ending surgery on his right elbow, general manager Ross Atkins said Tuesday.

The Blue Jays also reported two other injuries: Outfielder George Springer will miss the next four or five days because of a strained oblique muscle and left-hander Robbie Ray will skip at least one spring training start after slipping on a staircase and bruising his elbow.

Yates was expected to be Toronto’s closer after signing a $5.5 million, one-year deal in the offseason. On Monday, the team said Yates would miss several weeks because of a strained muscle in his forearm.

Yates last pitched Saturday against Philadelphia, striking out two in one scoreless inning. It was his second outing of the spring and his first since March 11.

The 33-year-old Yates was an All-Star with San Diego in 2019, when he posted a 1.19 ERA and led the NL with 41 saves. He pitched in six games for the Padres last season and had a 12.46 ERA before surgery to remove bone chips from his elbow.

Springer signed a $150 million, six-year deal in the offseason. The 2017 World Series MVP with Houston, he was scratched from a game on March 9 because of tightness in his abdominal muscles.

Springer had an MRI after experiencing persistent tightness, but Atkins said Toronto’s prime acquisition still feels good and isn’t expected to be out of action for long.

“The MRI revealed an injury that he is able to play baseball with,” Atkins said. “He is extremely motivated and driven to be ready for opening day.”

Atkins said Ray was carrying his child down the stairs at his rental home when he slipped and fell. Ray’s child was uninjured in the fall, Atkins said.

“Part of the injury was making sure that that was the priority,” Atkins said.

The lefty is expected to throw a bullpen session in the next few days.

Right-hander Nate Pearson, who has missed time because of a strained right groin, has resumed throwing and feels good, Atkins said, while right-hander Thomas Hatch, who left a spring outing last week because of a sore elbow, “is not going to be missing significant time.”

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More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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