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Former Bisons pitcher Eric Yardley reportedly joining Fisher Cats’ coaching staff
By Thomas Hall2 months ago
The New Hampshire Fisher Cats will reportedly have a new addition to their coaching staff next season, one that features 10 seasons of experience in professional baseball.
Former minor-league pitcher Eric Yardley is set to join the Toronto Blue Jays’ double-A affiliate as an assistant pitching coach, per FanSided‘s Eric Treuden. The club will likely formally announce their coaching staff closer to the start of the 2024 campaign, which begins on Apr. 9.
Yardley, who went undrafted, started his professional career after signing as an amateur free agent with the San Diego Padres in 2013. The right-handed reliever flourished in his pro debut, pitching to a 1.89 ERA with 18 strikeouts over 19.0 innings in 12 appearances.
After spending the first six seasons of his career in the Padres’ minor-league system, the side-arm thrower made his major-league debut in 2019, allowing three runs (one earned) on two hits and one walk across one-third of an inning against the Cincinnati Reds his first time out.
The Milwaukee Brewers claimed Yardley off waivers from the Padres during the ensuing off-season, marking the beginning of a two-year stint with the organization. He logged 42.0 innings in 41 relief outings at the big-league level in that span, posting a 3.86 ERA while fanning 24 of his 186 batters faced.
Following two seasons with the Brewers, Yardley signed as a free agent with the Chicago Cubs during the 2021-22 off-season – only for his tenure to last just a few seasons, as the team released him after struggling to a whopping 17.36 ERA over his first five games. The veteran hurler wasn’t out of work for long, though, with the Blue Jays picking him up less than a month later.
In 32 games with the Buffalo Bisons, Toronto’s triple-A affiliate, the soft-throwing righty finished with a far more respectable 4.13 ERA and 3-2 record, registering 31 punchouts over 32.2 innings.
The Richland, Wash., native agreed to a minor-league contract that included an invite to spring training with the Arizona Diamondbacks last winter. But he was released before the regular season opened and didn’t catch on with another franchise in 2023.
Yardley announced his retirement from professional baseball via Instagram on Dec. 15, where he also revealed he had accepted a minor-league coaching offer from the Blue Jays organization.
“I am proud to announce that after 10-plus years of pitching professionally, I have accepted an offer to be a minor league pitching coach for the Blue Jays. Thank you to everyone who was there for me and supported me along the way to experiencing the dream of pitching in Major League Baseball!
“Thank you to the Padres, Brewers, Cubs, Blue Jays and D-backs for giving me the opportunity to put a uniform on as long as I did! And, thank you to the Foo Fighters for providing the walk-out music for every appearance of my career.”
As a player, Yardley ends his career with nearly 500 innings pitched in the minors, plus the 53.2 he compiled over his two major league seasons with the Brewers. He finishes with 416 combined strikeouts between the majors and minors.
Though the Blue Jays farm system isn’t loaded with pitching gems, he’ll likely be able to share his extensive knowledge with touted arms like Adam Macko, CJ Van Eyk, Michael Dominguez, Mason Fluharty and T.J. Brock, among others, in New Hampshire next season.
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