Oviedo & Bedard Cut; Yates & Beliveau Remain | The Process Report

Oviedo & Bedard Cut; Yates & Beliveau Remain

The Rays made a pair of roster moves that continued a trend toward youth in the bullpen. Following the release of Heath Bell earlier in the season, the club designated Juan Carlos Oviedo and Erik Bedard for assignment in recent days. Both veterans can declare free agency if they clear waivers. In each case, a younger arm with options remaimed on the roster.

In the most recent instances Kirby Yates and Jeff Beliveau were the beneficiaries of roster spots. Yates, a right-hander, has more strikeouts (18) than innings pitched (16 2/3). Through the failure of others, as well as his own effectiveness, the Hawaii native has quickly climbed the leverage ladder including two recent save opportunities.

Yates spots a mid-90s fastball on both corners of the plate, choosing to work away depending on the batters hand. His best pitch is a slider that comes in about 10 mph off the fastball and fades down and to his glove-side. He throws a changeup on occasion, but it is not an offering that left-handed batters fear.

In Sunday’s contest, Yates entered in the top of the seventh inning with the Red Sox ahead 3-2 and threatening with two runners on and two outs. Shane Victorino proved to be quite the challege, fouling off five straight full-count pitches. Yates was able to finally finished 14th-pitch epic with a crisp 83-mph slider that missed Victorino’s bat to end The threat. If he shows he can handle the heat, manager Joe Maddon will continue to throw him in the fire.

Jeff Beliveau might be the most well-traveled Ray. Over the past year be has been a regular commuter on the Durham-St.  Petersburg shuttle. The club had the opportunity to ship him out once again this weekend; however, opted to give the left-hander a longer look and jettisoned Oviedo and Bedard instead. Jake McGee’s promotion to closer and Cesar Ramos serving as the long man created a void for a lefty in pitch the middle innings. This is where Beliveau figures to settle.

Featuring a low-90s fastball and a pair of breaking balls, Beliveau has the arsenal to handle lefties. Meanwhile, he showed some chops this weekend against the right-handed Jonny Gomes. After allowing an infield hit to Gomes on Saturday – the product of miscommunication between Yunel Escobar and Evan Longoria – he struck out the noted lefty masher on Sunday using an impressive sequence.

The 27-year-old, former Texas Ranger started the plate appearance with a fastball that landed for a called strike on the outside corner. He followed up with a pair of breaking balls – one curveball and one slider – but both fell below the zone and away. To pull the count even at 2-2, he spotted another 88-mph fastball this time on the inner half for a strike call. He took a chance with mid-70s curve – low and inside – that Gomes fouled off to continue the battle. On the sixth pitch of the encounter, Beliveau went back to the outer portion of the zone, getting the Red Sox outfielder to swing and miss on a third 88-mph “heater.”

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Brad Boxberger and Jake McGee have become a dominant, right-left duo, closing out most of the Rays’ recent victories. It looks as if the organization is willing to give Yates and Beliveau (and perhaps C.J. Riefenhauser later) a chance to form their own combination in preserving leads for “Jake in the Box.”



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