PHILADELPHIA -- Coming off a solid 2018 season with Baltimore's Triple-A affiliate in Norfolk, it seemed to be only a matter of time before Mike Yastrzemski would make his big league debut in '19. As a member of the division foe Orioles, that would mean three potential trips to Fenway Park for the grandson of Hall of Famer and Red Sox legend Carl Yastrzemski.
Then, less than a week before Opening Day, the 29-year-old outfielder was traded to the Giants -- a team that had played in Boston only twice (once each in 2007 and '16) since Interleague Play began in 1997. Yastrzemski, however, is expected to make his long-awaited Fenway Park debut when San Francisco makes its third trip to Boston for a three-game set, beginning with Tuesday's 7:10 p.m. ET series opener.
"I think the narrative with the kid is good," said Red Sox manager Alex Cora. "He had a good Spring Training, too. He took some good swings against us. I’m surprised with the moves that happened, but it worked out for him. He’s doing an outstanding job for the Giants."
Yastrzemski made his big league debut on May 25, and entered Sunday hitting .265 with 19 homers and 51 RBIs through 95 games. His Hall-of-Fame grandfather, who was just 21 at the time of his Major League debut, hit just .254 with six homers through his first 95 contests for the Red Sox -- though he did drive in 52 runs.
Cora, whose older brother, Joey, is also a former big league player and World Series-winning coach, knows all about these types of reunions, though he admitted this week's series will be on a much larger scale.
"Being from a baseball family, you see all this stuff and it’s pretty cool. I know how it feels, but this is kind of another level," Cora said. "I know it’s going to be a special three days for their family."
Red Sox fans witnessed Carl Yastrzemski win the Triple Crown and American League Most Valuable Player Award in 1967. They saw him take home seven Gold Glove Awards and earn 18 All-Star selections during his 23-year career, all of which was spent in Boston. He clubbed 237 of his 452 career homers at Fenway Park.
Though Cora is excited to be part of the moment, the Red Sox skipper is hoping Fenway plays a little tougher for Mike Yastrzemski than it did for his grandfather.
"Hopefully they can enjoy watching him play defense," Cora quipped, "and he doesn’t do too much offensively against us."
• Mookie Betts (left foot soreness) was out of the lineup for a second straight day on Sunday. He is expected to meet with team doctors on Monday when the club returns to Boston, though Cora remains optimistic that Betts will be able to return to the lineup for Tuesday's series opener against the Giants.
"He’s doing OK. Still sore," Cora said. "Most likely tomorrow, he’ll go see our doctors. We don’t think it’s something that’s going to take him awhile. Hopefully he’ll be back in the lineup for the Giants and finish the season strong."
• Right-hander Heath Hembree was originally scheduled to throw a simulated game Tuesday, but the Red Sox scrapped that plan based on how Hembree felt on Sunday after throwing a bullpen session on Saturday.
"Today, he showed up, it’s not like he’s in a bad spot, but he doesn’t feel great," Cora said. "His elbow’s sore around the area. It’s not something that we’re worried about, but I don’t think we’re going to do the simulated game."
Hembree's status for the final two weeks is now up in the air, with Cora saying the club will likely make a decision Tuesday on how to handle the righty down the stretch.
"If we’re running out of time, we’re running out of time," Cora said. "We’re not going to push him to pitch just for him to pitch. We’ll talk about it probably [Tuesday] when we get to the ballpark and make a decision with that."
• Brock Holt (illness) did not start Sunday, though Cora said the utility man was available off the bench. He is expected to return to the lineup Tuesday.