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Yastrzemski throws out first pitch

Former Boston Red Sox great Carl Yastrzemski waves

Former Boston Red Sox great Carl Yastrzemski waves to the fans after throwing out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the Red Sox home opener against the Yankees in Boston. (Apr. 8, 2011) Photo Credit: AP

BOSTON -- Reclusive native Long Islander Carl Yastrzemski threw out the first pitch before Friday's Red Sox home opener against the Yankees.

The white-haired 71-year-old Southampton product returned to Fenway Park to cheers from adoring Red Sox fans. Yastrzemski has mostly stayed away, though he did visit the Red Sox in spring training, where he gave new leftfielder Carl Crawford tips on playing Fenway's famed Green Monster.

Asked why he has stayed out of sight, the Hall of Famer said, "When I retired, I kind of said that was it. I had my place in the limelight, and I stayed away from the ballpark for a few years because I didn't want to get any type of urge to come back or something like that. It was difficult the first couple years, but after that ... ."

Yastrzemski said he splits his time between Florida and New England. When asked where, he said, "I don't want to tell you. I'll get too many fan mails."

He also said, "I flew up this morning and I'll be flying back in a little while."

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