The Giants made one man’s dream come true when they called up Mike Yastrzemski Saturday while potentially saying goodbye for good to a man who’s spent his entire seven-year pro-career in the Giants organization, when they designated Mac Williamson for assignment.
Yastrzemski, the grandson of the great Carl Yastrzemski, was drafted out of Vanderbilt in the 14th round of the 2013 amateur draft by the Orioles. The Giants acquired him March 23 in exchange for right-handed pitcher Tyler Herb, and he’s been tearing it up in Triple-A ever since.
The Giants didn’t wait around after calling Yastrzemski up—the 28-year-old is starting in left field in the seven-spot in Saturday’s matinee.
Said Bochy of Yastrzemski:
“He’s got good plate discipline he’s got some pop [and] he’s just a baseball player… He’s getting this chance here. He spent some time in the minor leagues and he’s put together a nice year. He’s played some great baseball down there in Sacramento and he’s earned this call up.”
In 40 games with the River Cats this spring, Yastrzemski has 12 homers, 11 doubles, 22 walks and is hitting .316 with a 1.090 OPS.
He credits his success in part to a change he made this spring. He said he sought to avoid routine:
“I found that some people become very superstitious in their routines and I wanted to try and break that mold for myself. I would try to do different things when things were going well. So when it was going well, I didn’t feel like I needed to listen to the same music, I didn’t feel like I needed to put my clothes on the same way or anything like that…I just kind of fell victim to my routine at one point and I didn’t really want that anymore. I said, ‘I’m not going to try and rely on anything like that.’”
Bochy said he expects to platoon Yastrzemski in left field with Tyler Austin, but he noted that Yastrzemski has the most experience in centerfield and can play right field as well.
Yastrzemski said he was ecstatic when he got the call and his wife was the first person he called:
“It’s a it’s a lifelong dream to be here and to finally step foot in a big league club house, is something special…When you have a dream, you just want to fulfill that. You’ve been chasing it for so long, there’s no reason to give up on it on a whim. So I think that just trying to stick with it and keeping the dream alive was was probably what kept me going.”
The left-hander said he looks forward to facing some of his “buddies” in Baltimore on the Giants upcoming road trip. He said his grandfather lives in Boston now but he doesn’t travel much so he’s not sure whether he’ll be able to make it to Camden Yards for the series.
The other end of the transaction was less sunny, though. The Giants opted to DFA Williamson, who was on a 0-21 skid and just couldn’t seem to regain his timing, to make room on the roster.
He was drafted by the Giants in the third-round of the 2012 draft and just could never quite put it together consistently over the last seven years. He went on a hot streak last May but sustained a concussion tripping over the home bullpen mound and was never able to reclaim that success.
Williamson was DFA’d before Opening Day and seemed to find his swing again in Triple-A this spring, but after a call-up May 7 he couldn’t translate that minor league success to the majors.
He will go through waivers and if he is not selected by another team he can decided to go back to Sacramento or elect free agency.
Bochy said it was a difficult conversation Saturday:
“I don’t know if I’ve pulled for a player—I mean you pull for ’em every day—but as hard as I have for Mac, especially with him going through waivers, going back down there and getting this game back. He worked hard to get this opportunity.”
“It just got to a point where, with his struggles, we just need some help. It was not an easy [conversation]. Mac was drafted by the Giants, he is a Giant.”
Rodríguez struggled in eight starts this spring posting a 5.05 ERA with 3-5 record. He averaged two home runs per nine innings and had a 1.463 WHIP.