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Yastrzemski takes All-Star Game in stride

Orioles prospect stays cool while representing Shorebirds in outfield
June 18, 2014

HICKORY, N.C. -- Mike Yastrzemski says he makes sure he's not overwhelmed by any situation, so a showcase game is no exception.

The Delmarva Shorebirds outfielder said he was comfortable in the Class A South Atlantic League All-Star Game, in which he went 1-for-2 with a first-inning single for the North Division on Tuesday night at L.P. Frans Stadium.

"I try to do the best that I can and when good things happen you know you put in the work," Yastrzemski said.

He drew attention, per usual, because he has instant name recognition among baseball fans based on his legendary grandfather, Carl Yastrzemski, who had a Hall of Fame career with the Boston Red Sox. The younger Yaz is carving out his own niche as a 23-year-old in the Baltimore Orioles organization.

A New York-Penn League All-Star last year, Mike Yastrzemski said the selection to play in another midsummer classic was rewarding even though most other players in the league received a few days off.

"It's always OK [to be in these]," he said. "It's not like these days are too strenuous. You enjoy being recognized."

The game ended in a 4-4 tie in 10 innings.

Yastrzemski, the starting right fielder, provided one of the game's defensive gems by tracking a foul ball near the fence and making the grab, denying Greenville Drive first baseman Jantzen Witte an extended at-bat in the top of the fifth inning.

Yastrzemski sports a .313 batting average with the Shorebirds. The former Vanderbilt player said he takes a basic approach.

"You don't have to look at it as a 144-game season," he said. "Just look at it one day at a time. You hear so much about the Minor League life being a grind. But if you just enjoy the guys you're around, it takes the pressure off."

In brief

Hometown flavor: The biggest ovation came early when Northern Division starter Hunter Harvey was introduced. The 19-year-old right-hander with the Delmarva Shorebirds is from nearby Catawba, N.C., and he was clearly a fan favorite.

"To throw in front of friends and family was good," Harvey said, noting he lives about 25 minutes away. "That's one thing I wanted to do. I really wanted to be picked for this game because it was here."

Unfortunately for Harvey, center fielder David Dahl of the Asheville Tourists hit the first pitch of the game into the right-center field gap for a double. But another roar came up from the crowd when Harvey escaped without giving up a run in his only inning of work.

Enjoy the moment: Pitcher Matt Milroy of the Greensboro Grasshoppers was one of six players from the Northern Division first-half champions picked for the All-Star Game. It was also his final game wearing a Grasshoppers cap, since he'll be moving on to the Class A Advanced Jupiter Hammerheads of the Florida State League. On Tuesday night, he struck out the first two batters he faced before a walk and a flyout.

Milroy posted a 5-3 record and a 2.83 ERA with the Grasshoppers, who used a 10-game winning streak down the stretch of the first half to rise from seven games and snare the crown.

Good enough: The tie game might have seemed anticlimactic, but league president Eric Krupa figured everything went well.

"It happens," Krupa said. "First and foremost, we're in player development. We appreciate a lot of the teams keeping their players here so they could play before (moving up). … You always want to have a winner. But with a good, exciting game like this, I don't think anyone is going to go away disappointed with the way it ended."

The game boasted a turnout of 3,753 fans. Krupa said it was a good way to showcase some stadium renovations.

Bob Sutton is a contributor to