On deck, Mike Yastrzemski?
That’s the fervent hope Carl Yastrzemski has for his grandson, a 26-year-old outfielder who is expected to begin the season with the Baltimore Orioles’ Triple-A affiliate in Norfolk, Virginia. The Vanderbilt graduate was selected by Baltimore in the 14th round of the 2013 draft.
After being promoted from Double-A to Norfolk last season, the lefthanded batter hit .221 with seven home runs and 32 RBIs in 94 games. He had 21 doubles and four triples and stole 10 bases.
“The main thing with him is that he works hard, and it’s not going to be from lack of work that he won’t make it to the big leagues,’’ Carl Yastrzemski said. “He’ll get the shot. The main thing that I’m happy with is that he’s just a great young man.’’
Mike Yastrzemski is used to being compared to his grandfather. “I’ve grown up with the name. There’s no pressure put on me by my family, my grandfather to do anything or be anyone,’’ Mike said in a phone interview. “They always told me they just want me to be happy and be myself, so that takes all the pressure off it for me.’’
Mike’s father, Carl Michael Yastrzemski, hit .272 in three Triple-A seasons for the White Sox. He died in 2004 at age 44 when he suffered a heart attack after hip surgery.
Carl has given his grandson hitting tips but rarely discusses his own career. “We don’t even talk a lot about him playing. It’s all about strictly hitting,’’ Mike said. “I think he really does miss it that much. He played with such passion and heart, it’s so hard for him to look back and talk about it because he wishes he was still playing.’’
Yastrzemski has seen his grandson play during spring training and in college. “He was actually up in the press box’’ during a college game, Mike said, “and nobody knew he was there until I hit a home run and the announcer said my grandfather was up there and everybody turned around and saw him. For him, that was the only stress that came out of that.’’