Notes: Peralta arrives; King optioned

April 29th, 2021

With a 2-1 record, two saves and a 5.40 ERA in 10 appearances for the Giants this season,  was not expecting to receive the news that he was traded on Tuesday. But he was taken aback even more when he found out which team he was set to join.

“I’m thankful, but at the same time, [it was] very surprising. I was like, ‘Whoa.’ Getting traded to the Yankees, I was not expecting it or thinking about it at all,” Peralta said Thursday morning through team translator Marlon Abreu, as the left-handed reliever addressed the New York media for the first time. “So a big surprise for me, but also very happy to be here, and for the opportunity.”

Peralta flew across the country from San Francisco to Baltimore on Wednesday, arriving in time for the Yankees’ series finale against the Orioles on Thursday. Despite the long flight and subsequent jetlag, the 29-year-old said that he didn’t mind the trip because “understanding where you’re going makes it better.”

The Yankees expect Peralta to be yet another valuable contributor in a relief corps that has flourished so far this season. Yanks relievers entered Thursday with the second-lowest bullpen ERA (2.33) and opponents’ batting average (.187) in the Majors, along with an MLB-best 0.97 WHIP. Their 112 strikeouts were also third most in the Majors, behind only the Padres (141) and Cubs (119).

“We’re really excited to have him,” said Yankees manager Aaron Boone. “We think he’s another really good reliever that we’re going to add to the mix down there, that gives us a little bit of a different look, too -- different than even our other left-handed relievers. I could see him pitching frankly in a number of roles, anything from high leverage, to medium and low, as well.”

Peralta has relied on a three-pitch mix in 2021, varying between use of his slider (38.8%), four-seam fastball (36.7%) and changeup (23%). When asked if he has a go-to pitch, he said that his selection depends more on the hitter than anything else -- what he’s sensing and reading off them in the batter’s box, as well as their hitting profile and swing quality.

In general, however, Peralta admits that against right-handed batters, he prefers his changeup or his fastball up and in, while against lefties, he tends to go with his slider. They all work for him, though, and the Yankees are looking forward to seeing him in action.

“This is a guy that has some plus stuff,” bullpen coach Mike Harkey said on Wednesday, “and I think that he’s gonna be a great addition for our bullpen. We have a lot of guys down there that can do a lot of different things; I think what he brings to us is just someone else who can pitch in some high-leverage situations and allow us not to overuse a lot of the same guys over and over.”

Odd man out King optioned
In just three relief outings this season, Michael King has made quite an impression on the Yankees. The 25-year-old right-hander has tossed 11 scoreless innings and struck out nine batters against four walks.

King most recently sealed the Yankees’ 7-0 win on Wednesday night, allowing only one hit in two innings on just 28 pitches. Yet, after the game, he was optioned to the alternate training site for the third time in April.

Boone made it clear on Thursday that King’s demotions have not been performance-related; rather, he has been the odd man out amid the Yankees’ roster crunch.

“Michael King has been awesome for us, and I’m so excited about where he’s at in his continued development,” Boone said. “I feel like he’s such a better pitcher than he was a year ago, six months ago, three months ago, whatever. He’s obviously filled a number of roles for us.”

Boone added that as the Minor League season nears, King will be someone the Yankees watch closely -- along with No. 3 prospect Deivi García -- as King keeps his pitch count built up in order to continue to be an option moving forward.

“He’s proving that he can handle a number of roles, whether it’s a starting situation, long relief, possibly even into some higher-leverage situations,” Boone said. “He’s in a really good place right now as a pitcher, and it’s important that he continues to build on that. Whether it’s up here or down there, there’s always things to continue to grow. But we’re excited about where he’s at in his development.”

This date in Yankees history
April 29, 2006:
The Yankees score at least one run in every inning of a 17-6 win vs. the Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium, marking just the second such time that's happened in franchise history and only the sixth in American League history.