Carl Yastrzemski picked the right day to make his first appearance at spring training for the Boston Red Sox in Fort Myers, Fla.
The Hall of Famer who spent his entire career with the Red Sox was on hand to see his grandson, Mike Yastrzemski, score a run in his first major league spring training game as a member of the Baltimore Orioles, who drafted the Vanderbilt product in the 14th round of last June's draft.
“It means a lot,” said the elder Yastrzemski, who worked with his grandson on his hitting in high school. “Just proves that a lot of hard work will take you a long way. He's worked hard all his life. He wanted to be a player and he put the time and effort into it.”
The 23-year-old entered as a pinch runner in the sixth inning, receiving a warm ovation from the Red Sox crowd when his name was announced. He went on to score Baltimore's first run.
Orioles Manager Buck Showalter probably envisioned such a moment when he decided to bring the younger Yastrzemski on the trip as one of his extras from minor league camp.
"We brought him here not because he's any kin of Carl but because he's a good player," Showalter said. "Obviously, if you're going to take him at some time, it's a nice little moment for him, and I'm not going to tell you I didn't think about it."
Mike Yastrzemski played right field the rest of the game and grounded out in his only at-bat. Still, he admits, it was a special day.
"To play at a replica of Fenway in spring training, and my first time being at a big-league camp, [that's] real special," he said.
And then, of course, there was the presence of his grandfather, with whom he said he has a typical grandfather-grandson relationship.
“It's been great,” Mike Yastrzemski said. “We talk about a lot of other stuff other than [baseball] -- fishing, baseball, golf. It's all good.”
So what does the 1967 triple crown winner think of his grandson's prospects?
“I think he has a shot because he has the desire and determination,” Carl Yastrzemski said. “That can take you a long way. He's always worked hard and you can't rule that out as being a big factor.”
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