BRADENTON, Fla. -- Pirates reliever Tyler Yates has been noticeably missing from this week's sessions of batting practice. However, that is entirely by design.
Yates has not suffered any sort of setback in his recovery from Tommy John surgery. In fact, he's actually ahead of most everyone in his throwing program. Yates had already thrown batting practice before the start of Spring Training.
As a result, pitching coach Ray Searage decided to have Yates skip pitching to hitters with the rest of the group this week and to instead have him throw a supervised side session under Searage's watch on Wednesday. Yates will then pitch one inning in Friday's exhibition game against the State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota.
"I want to work on him again and make sure that he feels comfortable mechanically," Searage said. "This is my call. He's ready to go. He would probably get something out of the BP, but I think I can get more out of working with him on the sideline."
Yates has his sights set on winning a spot in the Pirates' bullpen by the end of camp. The right-hander hasn't pitched in the Majors since May 2009, and underwent right elbow surgery in July of that season.