Giants' Mike Yastrzemski returns to Boston as one of NL's best rookies

Alex Pavlovic

SAN FRANCISCO -- On Saturday night, Giants outfielder Mike Yastrzemski took a pitch off the back foot that momentarily hobbled him. A day later, he dashed for the plate on a wild pitch and had a 225-pound pitcher land directly on his back. As manager Bruce Bochy watched all this, he never had any concerns about his leadoff hitter's ability to take the field Tuesday. 

"I think going to Boston, I don't think anything would have kept him from going and playing," Bochy said. 

This is going to be a special week for Yastrzemski, his family and generations of Red Sox fans. It would have been regardless of the circumstance. If Yastrzemski had spent the entire season in Triple-A and gotten a call-up as an occasional pinch-hitter, the trip to Boston still would have carried significant interest. 

But the grandson of a Red Sox Hall of Famer won't walk into Fenway Park as just another player. Yastrzemski has become an everyday contributor for the Giants at the age of 29, and crosses over to interleague play as one of the top rookies in the NL. 

Yastrzemski ranks fourth among NL rookies with 19 homers and is in the top 10 in WAR (1.8), wRC+ (115), RBI (51) and runs scored (56). He leads Giants regulars with a .833 OPS and .509 slugging percentage. 

Yastrzemski has not gotten caught up in the numbers or hype this year, focusing instead on the day-to-day grind of being a big leaguer. But he knows this week will be different. 

"It's special in a sense with the history of the game and with my grandfather there," he said. "It's going to be pretty emotional to try and contain those things and try to make it feel like it's just a regular game."

Yastrzemski said he always got nice receptions from Red Sox fans when the Orioles would play them in spring training, and he hopes for something similar Tuesday. It shouldn't be long before he finds out what's in store.

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The best story of this Giants season is now hitting leadoff, and Bochy said he plans to start the younger Yaz in all three games at Fenway Park. 

"I think it's going to be cool. I've thought about it," Bochy said. "That's a pretty cool thing, I'm sure, for him and his granddad. It's going to be fun for the fans. It's a big name there so it's going to be exciting."

Giants' Mike Yastrzemski returns to Boston as one of NL's best rookies originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area