BALTIMORE -- Mike Yastrzemski always thought his first shot in the Majors would come with the Orioles, the team that selected him in the 14th round of the 2013 Draft out of Vanderbilt. The 28-year-old grandson of Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski instead found himself making his first trip to
BALTIMORE -- Mike Yastrzemski always thought his first shot in the Majors would come with the Orioles, the team that selected him in the 14th round of the 2013 Draft out of Vanderbilt. The 28-year-old grandson of Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski instead found himself making his first trip to Camden Yards as a big leaguer with the Giants, who acquired the outfielder in Spring Training before calling him up last week.
“I did a little looking around before the game, just kind of taking that in and letting that sink in,” Yastrzemski said. “Once that happened, I was ready to play baseball instead of standing there in awe.”
Yastrzemski went on to show the Orioles what they missed, collecting his first career home run and triple in the Giants’ 9-6 loss in Friday’s series opener.
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In his first at-bat at Camden Yards, Yastrzemski delivered an RBI triple to the right-field corner to put the Giants on the board and help spark a five-run first inning. After the Orioles came back to take a 6-5 lead, Yastrzemski briefly tied the game by launching Andrew Cashner’s first pitch of the second inning out to right-center field.
“Deep down, I always wanted to come here and hit one,” Yastrzemski said. “Always. Now it’s a reality, and that’s pretty special.”
Yastrzemski spent six seasons grinding through the Orioles’ farm system before he was dealt to the Giants in exchange for right-hander Tyler Herb in late March. He believes the change of scenery ultimately benefited him, as it allowed him to focus on honing his routine at Triple-A Sacramento, where he batted .316 with a 1.090 OPS and 12 home runs over 40 games this year.
“The way that it’s all unfolded was never something that you could have really predicted,” Yastrzemski said Friday. “I just got put in a really good situation and got lucky. I’m just really happy with the way things have turned out.
“That definitely makes it way more special. Being able to go through all the adversity, the ups and downs and the times of doubt. It feels really good to make it and now to be on the other side of some friendly familiar faces.”
Yastrzemski, who is batting .273 (6-for-22) in six games since debuting with the Giants, said he remains close with several Orioles, most notably first baseman Trey Mancini, who lived with Yastrzemski for two Spring Trainings and one offseason in Nashville.
“It was cool to hear those guys are still in your corner,” Yastrzemski said. “It may not be this weekend, but they still want you to do well, which is great to feel.”
Outfielder Chris Shaw, a former first-round Draft pick who is the Giants’ No. 11 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, made the jump from Double-A Richmond to Triple-A Sacramento on Thursday. Shaw, 25, first reached Triple-A in 2017 and went 10-for-54 (.185) with 23 strikeouts in 22 games with the Giants last year, but he began the 2019 campaign at Double-A to ensure he received consistent at-bats and could work on improving his strike zone awareness.
In 45 games with Richmond this season, Shaw batted .288 with an .868 OPS and seven home runs. He drew 19 walks and struck out 33 times in 160 at-bats, compared to 21 walks and 144 strikeouts in 394 at-bats with Triple-A Sacramento in 2018.
Pablo Sandoval served as the Giants’ designated hitter for Friday’s series opener against the Orioles, but manager Bruce Bochy said that duty will likely shift to Buster Posey on Saturday. Bochy said he hopes to keep Sandoval’s bat in the lineup by starting him at first base and shifting Brandon Belt to left field on Saturday.
Maria Guardado covers the Giants for MLB.com. She previously covered the Angels from 2017-18. Follow her on Twitter.