Traded from the Rays to the Indians and then to the Yankees in a three-month span, Kauai native and pitcher Kirby Yates responded by posting three saves and 10 strikeouts in seven scoreless spring training appearances.
It’s very likely that the former Triple-A All-Star cracks the opening-day lineup for one of the most prestigious professional teams in all of sports.
Understandably, Yates has been told that some are surprised he wasn’t rattled by the off-season relocations, but he explained to KHON2 sports director Rob DeMello that he has a good reason for not getting hung-up on the transactions.
“I was getting married while all that was going on, so it kind of took my mind off of baseball, that’s for sure,” he said. “Once I settled in and found out I was with the Yankees, I was obviously happy.”
Yates, who is the younger brother of former Braves, Mets, and Pirates relief pitcher Tyler Yates, spent seven years in the Tampa Bay Rays organization having posted 63 strikeouts in 56 big league innings, while sporting an identifiable beard for most of those strikeouts.
One thing he definitely had to pack on the move was a razor, since the Yankees do not allow players to have facial hair. However, Yates is cool with the new look.
“It’s a lot of work. I have to shave every couple of days, but it’s alright. It hasn’t bothered me so far,” he said.
So far, the only ones that appear to be bothered have been opposing batters.
The Yankees will open 2016 regular season on April 4 against the Astros in the Bronx. Opening-day rosters are expected to be announced over the weekend.