With his 6-foot-4 frame, above-average fastball and complementing slider, Yates will be considered as a possible setup man for closer Matt Capps. The Pirates acquired Yates by trading pitching prospect Todd Redmond to the Braves Wednesday.
"We saw a young arm that we like," said Pirates general manager Neal Huntington. "Tyler is a three-plus service guy that will be with us for the next three years. He has power. He can overpower people."
To make room for Yates on the 40-man roster, the Pirates unconditionally released lefty Juan Perez. Yates will take up one of the final four spots in the bullpen.
He is expected to join the team on Thursday, and is likely to pitch for the first time in a Pirates uniform on Friday against Minnesota. Yates threw scoreless innings on both Monday and Tuesday.
"Talking with the Braves people, Tyler was a guy who pitched an important role for them early in the first half last year," Huntington said. "The second half he struggled a little bit. He came into camp this year with the anticipation that he would be in the bullpen."
The Braves were able to move Yates because of strong spring performances from the rest of their bullpen.
"We benefited from it," Huntington said.
"I think it will play out over time," Huntington said. "I think he certainly has the ability to do that. We need to lay our eyes on him and let [pitching coach] Jeff [Andrews] and [manager] John [Russell] get to know him. We'll make the determination as we go forward."
Yates, a former teammate of Pirates first baseman Adam LaRoche in Atlanta, made his Major League debut with the New York Mets in 2004 and posted a 2-4 record in 21 appearances, including seven starts.
"I think it's going to be a good career move to be able to go over there and get a lot of work," Yates said. "About three-quarters of the way through camp, I felt that I had pitched myself out of a role in the bullpen and put myself on the bubble.
"You never know, if I had pitched better, maybe I would have gotten traded earlier," Yates added. "It's Spring Training. You're not only pitching for your team, but also the other teams out there."
The 30-year-old Yates has made 152 career big league appearances, compiling a 6-12 record and three saves.
Redmond, Pittsburgh's 39th-round selection in the 2004 First-Year Player Draft, went 8-13 with a 4.38 ERA in 28 combined starts for Class A Lynchburg and Double-A Altoona in 2007. He was expected to be in Altoona's starting rotation this year.
Todd Krise is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.