Pirates reliever Tyler Yates has torn flexor tendon in elbow

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Tyler Yates was healthy enough to pitch during spring training after missing most of 2009 and all of 2010 following Tommy John surgery, but now Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports that he has a torn flexor tendon in the same elbow.

Yates got the bad news from Dr. James Andrews and will be re-examined in six weeks, but surgery to repair the torn tendon could knock him out for a second straight season.

Prior to all the arm problems Yates was a decent reliever for the Braves and Pirates, posting a 4.66 ERA and 178 strikeouts in 189 innings from 2006 to 2008, but he always struggled to consistently throw strikes and could turn 34 years old before taking the mound again.

Tigers sign Edwin Espinal to minor league deal

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Free agent first baseman Edwin Espinal has signed a minor league deal with the Tigers, the infielder announced Saturday. The move has yet to be confirmed by the team.

Espinal, 23, capped a seven-year run with the Pirates’ minor league affiliates in 2017. He split his season between Double-A Altoona and Triple-A Indianapolis, batting a cumulative .294/.327/.447 with 15 home runs and 31 doubles in 532 plate appearances. While he’s raked at nearly every level so far, he also profiles well on defense, and rounded off his 2017 performance with a perfect fielding percentage, 208 putouts and a Gold Glove award.

Espinal is untested at the major league level and it’s not yet clear if he’ll make the jump in 2018. He showed some positional versatility during his time in the minors, however, and could take reps at third base or DH if necessary. The Tigers are reportedly on the lookout for pitching depth and left-handed bats — two bills the right-handed Espinal doesn’t fit — and presumably have a lot of moves left to make this winter.