Left-hander Evan Rutckyj was returned to the Yankees on Friday. The Braves selected him in the Rule 5 Draft in December and had to offer him back to the Yankees after deciding not to keep him on their major league roster for the 2016 season season. (Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com) Curtis Compton
Photo: Curtis Compton
Photo: Curtis Compton

Braves Rule 5 pick Rutckyj goes back to Yankees

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Left-hander Evan Rutckyj, a Rule 5 Draft pick by the Braves from the Yankees in December, is going back from whence he came.

The Canadian reliever was returned to the Yankees after the Braves decided not to keep him on their 25-man major league roster. Per Rule 5 rules, the Yankees had to pay only $25,000, or half of the $50,000 claiming price the Braves paid when they selected him.

The move left the Braves with 40 players on their spring-training roster.

Rutckyj, 24, has not pitched above the Double-A level, and the Braves liked their other lefty bullpen options more, including experienced major leaguers Alex Torres and Ian Krol. The Braves would’ve been required to keep him on their major league roster all season or offer him back to the Yankees.

They also could have traded him, but any team that traded for him would’ve been required to assume the Rule 5 responsibilities and keep him on its 25-man roster all season.

Rutckyj had a 2.63 ERA in 24 appearances last season with the Yankees’ high-A and Double-A affiliates, totaling 82 strikeouts and 21 walks in 61 2/3 innings. In four Grapefruit League appearances for the Braves, he allowed one hit and five walks with two strikeouts in three innings.

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