FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Orioles prospect Mike Yastrzemski walked onto the field at jetBlue Park on Sunday morning and was immediately surrounded by media from both the Baltimore and Boston areas.
It was no surprise, since the he had been added to the Orioles traveling squad by manager Buck Showalter so he could see -- and be seen by -- his grandfather, who happens to be one of the greatest players in Red Sox history. Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski is a Red Sox instructor who arrived in came on Saturday.
"I knew even before I was coming to spring training that he was going to be down here," Mike said. "We had conversations about who was coming down when and he said he's be down on the 1st or 2nd, so I figured he'd be here."
What Mike didn't know was that Showalter had decided months ago to make sure he came along on the first spring road trip that would provide an opportunity for a baseball reunion.
Mike grew up spending Sundays at a North Andover, Mass., batting cage with his famous grandpa. Those hours of instruction paid off when he was drafted by the O's in the 14th round of the 2013 draft out of Vanderbilt. He was originally drafted out of high school by the Red Sox, but chose to go to college and get a degree in sociology.
Maybe that was for the best, since coming up through the Sox organization with that famous and very distinctive last name might have been a burden.
"Without any doubt," said Carl, who won the Triple Crown in 1967. "I think if he would have signed with the Red Sox, it would have been too much pressure on him. He likes the Baltimore organization. They're a great organization, so he's very happy there."
Mike played at short-season Single-A Aberdeen last year and obviously made a pretty good impression on the organization. Though he wasn't a top prospect, Carl feels that he does have a chance to make it to the major leagues.
"I think he has a shot because he has the desire and determination," he 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."Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun