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Braves return Rule 5 pick reliever Evan Rutckyj to the Yankees

The wonderfully-named Rutckyj was claimed last December, but after watching him for half of spring training, Atlanta decided not to carry him on their MLB roster.

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During the off-season, the Yankees lost a pair of minor leaguers in the annual Rule 5 Draft when the Reds claimed outfielder Jake Cave and the Braves made the somewhat surprising decision to take 24-year-old southpaw Evan Rutckyj. Through the rules of the Rule 5 Draft, both teams needed to keep the players on their active roster all year long, or offer them back to their original teams for half of the $50,000 claim price.

Cave is still with Cincinnati, but with rosters winnowing as spring training winds down, the Braves have decided to return Rutckyj to the Yankees. It seemed like he had a decent shot at making their Opening Day roster since Atlanta is going nowhere this year and could afford to stash an arm they like on their active roster. The 2010 draft pick out of a high school in Ontario had a 2.63 ERA and 12.0 K/9 last year, which he split between High-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton. The Braves took him since they were intrigued by his strikeout potential.

However, Rutckyj has struggled with command and control in the past, and those problems appeared to emerge again this spring, as he walked five batters in just three innings. He did manage to allow just one unearned run and one hit to go with two strikeouts, but this decision was surely a result of watching him in action beyond exhibition games. So he returned to the Yankees organization, and they announced that he will be assigned to Scranton's roster (though that doesn't mean he will necessarily open the season there).

This move is a little awkward now too, as just a couple days ago, Rutckyj discussed his disappointment with the Yankees' coaching staff. He felt that although he was new to the Braves' organization, they were already more accessible:

"I feel like we can talk to anybody here... It’s kind of different from the Yankees, where if one of the coordinators or somebody walks by you, like, put your head down and mind your own business. But here everybody wants you to talk to them."

It seems odd to suggest these problems with the coaching staff when other Yankees minor leaguers have indicated the opposite--that they are accessible and willing to help out. Whether this is indeed a problem with the Yankees' coaches or Rutckyj himself remains to be seen, but either way, it's probably not a great feeling for him to return after going public with his mixed review. I suppose it's better than putting higher-ups in the organization on blast though.