Yaz supports former college teammate Kemp

July 27th, 2020

Last month, A’s second baseman Tony Kemp launched the “THE +1 EFFECT” campaign, an initiative aimed at promoting productive dialogue about race in the wake of the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25.

Kemp’s mission is to raise awareness and change minds through individual conversations, with an end goal of rooting out systemic racism and social injustice in America. One of the people he’s inspired is Giants outfielder Mike Yastrzemski, his former college roommate at Vanderbilt.

Yastrzemski, one of several Giants players who have been kneeling during the national anthem this year, said Kemp’s work “has been a big part” of his desire to use his platform to join the calls for change and equality around the country. 

“For me, it was something that I felt was very important in my heart and was a personal decision,” Yastrzemski said during a Zoom call with reporters on Sunday. “I wanted to express where I stood.”

Kemp, who served as a groomsmen in Yastrzemski’s wedding party, has been open about his encounters with racism and has shared some of those stories with the Giants’ second-year outfielder. Yastrzemski said he wanted to be an ally for Kemp and other friends who have endured similar experiences.

“I wanted to show my support and show that I don't believe that what has happened to them has been right,” Yastrzemski said. “I just wanted them to know that I love them, and I support them. I'm willing to put myself up to be vulnerable, to open myself up to a lot of ridicule from people who want to create hate. I want to help kind of change the focus, create conversation and try and help educate in any way possible so that way we can all have the freedoms that we are guaranteed in our Constitution.”

Changing it up
Shaun Anderson made his season debut in Saturday’s 5-4 win over the Dodgers, working a scoreless seventh to help serve as a bridge to the club’s back-end arms. Anderson issued a leadoff walk to Chris Taylor before coming back to strike out Joc Pederson, Enrique Hernández and Edwin Ríos to end the inning.

The 25-year-old right-hander threw three changeups for swinging strikes, giving him another offering to complement his fastball and sharp slider. Anderson said improving the offspeed pitch was an offseason focus for him, and he’s been pleased with the early returns thus far.

“The biggest thing for me was confidence in that pitch,” Anderson said Sunday. “I continued to throw it in Spring Training 2.0 and applied it to the game. I felt comfortable throwing it.”

Anderson made 16 starts for the Giants last year before finishing the season in the bullpen. A former closer at the University of Florida, Anderson said he’s open to continuing to pitch in relief and welcomes the opportunity to establish himself as a late-inning option.

“I think if I'm going to be out of the bullpen I want to have a key role, and I want to earn that position,” Anderson said. “I think putting together some good outings hopefully can earn me a spot back there.”

CoJo strong
Former Giants outfielder Connor Joe is officially cancer-free, his agent, John Boggs, announced on Twitter on Sunday. Joe, 27, revealed that he was battling testicular cancer in March. He started for the Giants in left field on Opening Day last year and appeared in eight games before he was returned to the Dodgers as a Rule 5 Draft pick.

Worth noting

• Outfielder Austin Slater was out of the starting lineup on Sunday after sustaining a right hip contusion when he crashed into the wall while making a tremendous catch on Saturday. Manager Gabe Kapler said Slater is still sore and would be evaluated before the game to determine his availability for Sunday’s series finale against the Dodgers.

• Outfielder Billy Hamilton, who missed the first two weeks of Summer Camp for undisclosed reasons, has been assigned to the Giants’ alternate training site in Sacramento. Another late arrival, left-handed reliever Jarlín García, is continuing to build up through his throwing program

• Catcher Chris Herrmann, who joined the Giants on a Minor League deal on Saturday, is expected to report to Sacramento on Tuesday when the club kicks off its first homestand of the year at Oracle Park. Herrmann is currently on the Giants’ three-man taxi squad, meaning the Giants will have to swap in another catcher to replace him on Tuesday. Kapler declined to share more details on the club’s future catching plans, though he said Chadwick Tromp (hamstring tightness) was “trending in the right direction” on Saturday.