Dan Duquette has a history with the Yastrzemski family of the Merrimack Valley.
When he was general manager of the Boston Red Sox, only 11 years ago, Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski was an instructor in Fort Myers during spring training and his son Michael, one of Florida State’s all-time greats, was an instructor for Boston’s Gulf Coast team.
Last week Duquette, now general manager of the Baltimore Orioles, started the process of hiring the next in the family’s line of baseball greats, Mike Yastrzemski of Andover and Vanderbilt.
The Orioles drafted Mike in the 14th round of the MLB Draft last Saturday.
Duquette, though, wanted to be clear about the youngest Yastrzemski. Carl’s grandson was not drafted because of his name.
“There is no scholarship to pro baseball,” said Duquette. “We drafted Mike on his own merits. He deserves the opportunity to try and become a major leaguer.”
Duquette said two of his top scouts, Dean Albany and Adrian Dorsey, were onto Yastrzemski well before the GM arrived with the Orioles in November of 2011.
“The thing is Mike was drafted last year by Seattle and he turned down pretty good money,” said Duquette. “Dorsey and Albany saw him a lot at Vanderbilt. I was down there to see Vandy play Mississippi State. He’s our kind of guy.”
One area where the name on the back of Mike’s jersey counts for something is his work ethic. Mike, like his father and grandfather, is known for his workout sessions before and after practices.
“He has a passion for baseball,” said Duquette. “I believe that runs in his family.”
Duquette got to see Mike while he played in high school and Legion baseball, going against his son’s teams in the Acton-Boxboro and Sudbury area.
“I saw him at St. John’s Prep,” said Duquette. “I always liked him as a young player.”
According to Duquette, the plan is for Mike to sign a contract with the Orioles this week and he will join their New York-Penn League team in Aberdeen, Md.
That’s good news for fans around here. Aberdeen comes to Lowell to play against the Spinners from Aug. 26-28.
“We’re excited to have Mike in the Orioles organization,” said Duquette. “He’s earned this opportunity.”
You can email Bill Burt at firstname.lastname@example.org.