BALTIMORE -- Mike Yastrzemski walked out of the clubhouse in shorts and a t-shirt and signed a bat for a fan before shaking hands with his friends and taking a round of photos. The group of four told Yastrzemski that they followed him through his minor league career and were thrilled that he hit his first homer at Camden Yards.
This is how it was always supposed to go for Yastrzemski, with one twist. His first blast came for the Giants, not the Orioles.
On an otherwise depressing night, Yastrzemski provided a highlight with a lined shot to right-center that was his first career homer. He also tripled in his debut at Camden Yards, where he always dreamed of playing as an Orioles prospect.
"Deep down I always wanted to come here and hit one," he said. "Now that it's reality, that's pretty special."
The Orioles selected Yastrzemski out of Vanderbilt in the 14th round of the 2013 draft, and he spent his entire career in their minor league system until this spring. The 28-year-old had 703 minor league games and 2,600 at-bats on his record before finally getting called up to replace Mac Williamson last weekend, but he has a good attitude about the long journey.
Yastrzemski said Friday that he has "no hard feelings" about the way it all worked out with the Orioles, who decided they had no room for him in their rebuild and shipped him to the Giants at the end of spring training.
"The way it all unfolded is something you couldn't have predicted," he said. "I got put in a good situation and I'm really happy with the way it turned out.
Yastrzemski came out on the field before Orioles batting practice and spent about half an hour with former minor league teammates. He is close with many of the current Orioles, including No. 3 hitter Trey Mancini, who was a roommate for a couple of years in the minors. Yastrzemski was told that many of the Orioles tuned in over the weekend when he made his debut against the Diamondbacks.
"They still want you to do well, which is great to see," he said.
Yastrzemski hoped that would be the case this weekend, and he got off to a hot start, scorching an RBI triple to right in the first. An inning later, he blasted an Andrew Cashner pitch out of the yard to tie a wild game the Giants lost 9-6.
"You always have that feeling where you want to show them what I've got," he said. "It's nice to get one."