By Doug Bruzzone
Special to S.F. Examiner
ORACLE PARK — The revolving door in left field continued for the Giants on Saturday morning, as the team called up Mike Yastrzemski from Triple-A Sacramento and designated Mac Williamson for assignment.
Yastrzemski hit .316 in Sacramento, with a .414 on base percentage and 12 homers in 163 plate appearances. The Giants, who have gotten less offense out of left field than any other Major League team, saw an opportunity to upgrade their production.
“He’s putting together a nice year,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “He’s played some great baseball down there in Sacramento. He’s earned this call up. He’s gonna be in left field quite a bit. He can play center, right field … He’s got good plate discipline. He’s got some pop. He’s just a baseball player. I look forward to watching him.”
Yastrzemski, the grandson of Hall of Fame Red Sox outfielder Carl Yastrzemski, was acquired from the Orioles during Spring Training for minor league right hander Tyler Herb. He described himself as “ecstatic,” saying that making the majors was his lifelong dream.
Yastrzemski’s impressive production in Sacramento came as a result of some changes. He said that he worked with hitting coach Damon Minor on hitting and mindset, and credited Minor with helping him understand that “my body had to work a certain way for me to be able to deliver.” His biggest mental adjustment was to abandon superstition, forcing himself to listen to different music and wear different clothes, which meant he was able to break out of his routine, helping him thrive.
This was Yastrzemski’s seventh year in the minors, and he admitted that after that long of a time, “There’s always doubts [about making the majors]. There’s always thoughts that run through your head that, do you have what it takes, but you just gotta keep pushing. Everybody loves to call it a grind, but if you love it enough, it’s not really grinding.”
As Yastrzemski gets his chance with the Giants, Williamson’s chance is over.
After coming back from a serious concussion he suffered last year, there was optimism that Williamson could be a presence in the lineup for the Giants, but the team designated him for assignment after a poor spring. He passed through waivers, went to Sacramento, and raked, hitting .378 and slugging .756, with nine home runs in 98 plate appearances, including a three-homer game on May 6, his last day in the minors this year.
That production didn’t translate to the Major Leagues. Williamson hit just .118 for the Giants this year, and struck out eight times over his last two games, eventually necessitating a roster move.
Bochy described the conversation with Williamson as “very tough,” saying that he’s been pulling for him. “It’s really a tough go for him the last couple games. You can kinda sense it. He was putting that added pressure on himself. Unfortunately, here, it’s about production, and right now we need some production out of left field.”
If Williamson passes through waivers again, he can either choose to accept an assignment to Sacramento or become a free agent. While Bochy hopes that Williamson stays with the organization, he knows there’s a good chance that he’s played his last game for San Francisco.
“Mac was drafted by the Giants. He was a Giant,” Bochy said. “I don’t know what’s going to happen, but he’s going to keep pushing, whether it’s here or somewhere else. He’ll get another opportunity and hopefully it works out well for him.”
-In addition to Yastrzemski, the Giants also called up Dereck Rodriguez from Triple-A, and placed reliever Trevor Gott on the 10-day IL with a right forearm strain.