Some dreams apparently don't happen overnight. And nobody personifies that better than Andover native Michael Yastrzemski.

The 28-year-old, who has spent parts of seven seasons in the minor leagues, including thousands of miles on buses, 703 games and 2,600 at bats, got the call from his manager with the Sacramento River Cats, Dave Brundage.

He was lying in his bed, trying to sleep before heading to the airport in five hours.

"What was it like?" said Yastrzemski, responding to a reporter's question. "It was relieving. I hoped it was going to happen, but when I got the call, I just felt totally relieved."

Yastrzemski had two phone calls to make; his wife, Paige, whom he met and dated at Vanderbilt University before getting married last November; and his mom, Anne Marie Yastrzemski, an Andover native, who has been there every step of the way.

One problem, both were in asleep in two different time zones, Paige in Nashville (2 a.m.) and Anne Marie in Andover (3 a.m.).

His wife cried intermittently.

His mom cried non-stop, in between "Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God!"

Both had to eventually compose themselves because they would need to fly out to San Francisco for Yastrzemski's first-ever major league game.

"At one point he said, 'Are you OK mom?' I was OK, but the fact that this finally happened was, well, incredible," said Anne Marie.

This was no gift from the Giants organization. Yastrzemski earned it.

At one point his batting average was .342. At the time of his callup he was hitting .316 with 12 home runs, which was only three short of his best mark over an entire season.

Yastrzemski, a former 14th round pick, credited the trade from the Orioles to the Giants on March 23 as a spark he needed. He was immediately assigned to their Triple A team, Sacramento.

"It was a new beginning," said Yastrzemski. "It was a fresh start ... Playing before new sets of eyes ... I just felt comfortable playing. It definitely rejuvenated me."

His grandfather, Carl Yastrzemski, played 23 seasons for the Red Sox and won the Triple Crown in 1967. An 18-time All-Star, with 452 career home runs, 1,854 RBIs and a career .285 batting average, the original "Yaz" was inducted to the baseball Hall of Fame in 1989.

He chatted with famous grandfather about a half-hour before he got to the field for his first game.

"It was pretty simple advice," recalled Yastrzemski. "He just said to be yourself. Don't try to do more. Honestly, he's probably said that to me hundreds of times. But he was right."

Yastrzemski struck out in his first at bat, hitting in the No. 2 hole.

"But honestly, I was really comfortable," he said. "It was the first time that day that I was totally calm, when I was in the batter's box."

It was in Game 2, the next day, that Yastrzemski strutted the same stuff he showed in Sacramento the last seven weeks. He had three of the Giants' 10 hits and scored a run in the 6-2 loss to the Diamondbacks.

"It's been a while, probably since my Vandy days, when the focus is solely on winning," said Yastrzemski. "I really liked that. You play to win, which isn't always the case in the minors."

Yastrzemski hopped on a plane with his new teammates after the Sunday game and headed to Miami, where the Giants play the Marlins.

Then it's three games in Baltimore against the Orioles, the team that originally drafted him, and then three games in Queens, N.Y. against the Mets.

"There will probably be some more family in Baltimore and New York," said Yastrzemski. "For me, though, it's all baseball. It's been a dream of mine my entire life. I'm going to enjoy this."

 

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