The trade deadline is quickly approaching, and while the Braves don’t have a ton of glaring needs, a right-handed reliever is at the top of the list. However, they might not even need a trade to make it happen. Kirby Yates, who has essentially missed the last two seasons, is recovering from Tommy John surgery and nearing a return. He was recently activated for his rehab assignment and pitched his first live game earlier this week, striking out two batters in a perfect inning of work in Rookie Ball. Now, he’s been moved to AA Mississippi.
#Braves reliever Kirby Yates is having his rehab assignment (TJ surgery) transferred to Double-A Mississippi for his next two scheduled appearances Friday and Sunday, after striking out two in a perfect inning in his first appearance Saturday in the rookie FCL at North Port.
— David O'Brien (@DOBrienATL) July 21, 2022
The Braves won’t rush things with Kirby Yates, but his progression will be a key factor in how Alex Anthopoulos addresses the trade deadline. If Yates continues to mow down batters in the minors and quickly works his way back to Atlanta, the need for a right-handed reliever diminishes. Although, teams can never have enough pitching, and bullpen help typically isn’t too expensive at the trade deadline, so it could be something the Braves go after regardless.