Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

Sports

August 29, 2013

Hometown hero

Orioles' Yastrzemski embraced by family, friends on trip to Lowell

Anne-Marie Yastrzemski remembers when her son Mike was just a little boy, playing in the backyard of the family’s Andover home.

Even at that young age, Mike always told his mother what he would become when he grew up.

“From the moment he could speak, he always said he was going to be a professional baseball player,” Anne-Marie Yastrzemski said.

“And Mike never ceases to amaze me. It is so amazing to see his dream come true.”

Mike Yastrzemski is now following his dream of reaching the major leagues as a minor leaguer in the Baltimore Orioles organization.

This week, his career took him just a short trip down Interstate 495 from his Andover home, when his Aberdeen IronBirds traveled to face the Lowell Spinners Monday through Wednesday.

It marked the first time Yastrzemski has played baseball so close to home since his days with the Andover Legion team, predating his years as a star for baseball powerhouse Vanderbilt University in Tennessee.

“It’s really exciting to be back,” Yastrzemski said. “I love this area. There is nothing like it. It’s been an amazing summer, but there is something really special about being close to home and playing in front of my family and friends.”

And there was a large contingent of Yastrzemski friends and relatives on hand to cheer on their favorite Baltimore Oriole in his local debut on Monday.

“I have no idea how many were there,” Yastrzemski said. “Aunts, uncles, cousins, former teammates, neighbors. And of course my mom. I hope they weren’t too loud.”

But they were quite loud cheering on young Yaz.

“This is so cool!” family friend Jen Grebe said. “I used to baby-sit him and change his diapers. Now he’s a professional baseball player.”

The 23-year-old Yastrzemski has given his family plenty to cheer about this season, his first in professional baseball after being picked in the 14th round by the Orioles in the 2013 draft.

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