LIHUE — Kauai High School graduate Kirby Yates was named to the International League Triple-A All-Star team Wednesday.
Yates is currently a relief pitcher for the Durham Bulls, which is the Tampa Bay Rays’ AAA affiliate.
Yates is brother of Major League Baseball pitcher and current Kauai High School pitching coach Tyler Yates. He was signed by the Tampa Bay Rays as a non-drafted free agent in 2009 and has navigated his way through the minor league gauntlet and is now knocking on the door to play for the Rays.
To get the nod for the all-star game, Yates put forth a 3-1 record out of the Bulls’ bullpen while giving up just five earned runs in 40.2 innings for an impressive 1.11 ERA. Yates only allowed 14 walks while striking out 64 batters.
“It feels good.” Yates said over the phone. “It’s the first one I have made so it’s nice, but it isn’t the ultimate goal.”
Yates is having a stellar year on the mound for the Bulls, his best as a professional and he is hoping that someone in the Rays’ organization will take notice and give him his first shot with the big league club.
“It is a great opportunity,” Yates said.
More than mechanical issues, Yates said he was working on his mental approach to hitters — Adjusting when he got behind in the count and really focusing on attacking the hitter, which has resulted in more strikeouts and less walks for the 26 year-old right hander.
Yates will take the field for the International League All-Star team on July 17 in Reno, Nev. where they will take on the Pacific Coast League All-Stars,which will be televised on the MLB network.
• Rick Killeen, sports writer, can be reached at 245-0437 or email@example.com.