Giants' Mike Yastrzemski soaks in first Fenway Park trip as MLB player

Giants' Mike Yastrzemski soaks in first Fenway Park trip as MLB player

Giants rookie outfielder Mike Yastrzemski is as stoic as it gets on and off the field, but he already has told himself to soak in at least one moment during his first game at Fenway Park. Early Tuesday, Yastrzemski did that while walking into the ballpark where his grandfather became a legend with the Boston Red Sox. 

"I got to walk in here by myself when I got to the field and there were a lot of memories of being in the stands," Yastrzemski said during a press conference Tuesday. "Being in the stands for the World Series, being in the stands for the 1999 Home Run Derby, the All-Star Game. Those things overwhelm you more than the playing here. The playing here is cool and I see it as something that's part of my job and something I always wanted to do."

Yastrzemski drew a crowd Tuesday in his first appearance at Fenway Park as a player, and he spent some time with his grandfather, Carl, a Hall of Famer who played all 23 seasons of his career in Boston. 

This is a moment the Yastrzemski family and Red Sox fans have been waiting for since the 29-year-old broke in with the Giants earlier this season. Mike said family members looked at the schedule and right away noticed that the Giants would play an interleague series in Boston in September. 

But he didn't allow himself to get carried away, even though he said "it's always a dream to play here when you're a kid growing up in New England."

"I kept it focused on just surviving one more day in the big leagues," Yastrzemski said. "There's been a lot of turnover on our team and I knew they were looking for production and I knew that to make it to Boston I had to play well. I said I've got to make it to Boston before I can talk about it. So now I guess I can talk about it."

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Yastrzemski nearly got optioned early in the second half, but stuck around and became a fixture for the Giants, who are making a rare visit to his hometown. Yastrzemski listed Pedro Martinez, Nomar Garciaparra, Manny Ramirez and Trot Nixon as his favorite players growing up. 

On Tuesday, he'll take the field where those players once starred.

"I was a big-time fan of the Red Sox growing up," he said. "And being able to come here and play is just a little cherry on top."

How Giants manager Gabe Kapler plans to handle veteran core of lineup

How Giants manager Gabe Kapler plans to handle veteran core of lineup

SAN FRANCISCO -- Gabe Kapler spent the last month talking to Giants employees about why he would be the right fit for the job, and on Wednesday he spent nearly an hour on a podium discussing his past and future. But now Kapler plans to listen.

The new Giants manager is three months from the start of spring training and soon after that he'll have to start putting together lineups. On the Giants Insider Podcast, Kapler said he plans to talk to core players before revealing any preferences. 

"An executive in Los Angeles once said to me: 'Know where they've been, know where they are, know where they're going," Kapler said. "In order to know those three things, I need to be able to ask those questions and hear what's going on in their brains."

The arrival of Kapler -- and general manager Scott Harris -- should lead to big changes even if the Giants aren't able to trade any veterans. Bruce Bochy had too much respect for Buster Posey's past accomplishments to move him out of the heart of the order, but Kapler enters without that history.

Brandon Crawford is coming off a down year and could lose time to Mauricio Dubon or a newcomer. Brandon Belt didn't hit for much power last year, but Bochy hit him leadoff at times because of his ability to have good plate appearances, and Kapler complimented Belt during his press conference Wednesday. 

"I've thought a lot about Brandon Belt (and) how impressive it is to watch him take an at-bat, independent of the outcome of the at-bat," Kapler said. "He tends to look over pitches and make really good swing-or-don't-swing decisions."

It'll now be up to Kapler to figure out the best configuration. He said he already has started digging into his new options, and he's excited about meeting the longtime Giants. 

"In preparing for an interview like this, you start to learn the players: The areas where they've taken off since you might have seen them last, the areas where they might have regressed a little bit," he said. "Before any real lineup decisions are made or any strategic decisions are made, tactical decisions, you have conversations with the players. I think that's a really important part of the process that sometimes gets blown past.

"I don't think it makes any sense for me to come in here and say Brandon Belt is going to lead off for us and Evan Longoria will hit in this spot and Buster Posey is going to play 'X' amount of games. All of those things we have an idea and a feel for, but much more importantly, before I make any decision like that or suggest any decision like that, I'll have a conversation with Buster, have a conversation with Evan, find out where they've been."

The perception in some circles is that Kapler was brought in partly because he can have those conversations before taking lineup suggestions from Zaidi, a close friend. But Kapler said he had autonomy in Philadelphia and doesn't expect a change, although he's happy to have input from the front office.

[RELATED: Zaidi lands his guy in Kapler, who must prove he fits Giants]

"I see it as a plus and a positive that Farhan will be invested in what happens on the field," he said. "That's the way it should be. But it's also important to note that I have a fairly strong personality. I've always shared my opinions. I always will share my opinions. We'll just come to the best decisions that help the San Francisco Giants win baseball games."

For more of Kapler's thoughts on strategy, bullpen usage, developing top prospects, his reunion with Zaidi, and those ice cream urban legends, you can stream the Giants Insider Podcast here or download it on iTunes here.

Click here to watch the full Kapler interview

Yankees GM reveals interest in Madison Bumgarner in MLB free agency

Yankees GM reveals interest in Madison Bumgarner in MLB free agency

This isn’t exactly breaking news, but Madison Bumgarner will be a hot commodity in MLB free agency.

The Atlanta Braves reportedly are the favorites to land the three-time World Series champion, but now another title contender is hoping in adding Bumgarner's services in 2020, after his 11-year run with the Giants.

“I will definitely talk to Bumgarner’s agency,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman reportedly told The San Francisco Chronicle’s John Shea at the GM meetings in Scottsdale, Ariz. “I haven’t. But I will.”

The Yankees' interest is far from a surprise. Not only does the franchise have one of baseball’s most expansive payrolls, but it could use a pitcher who sports a series of dominant playoff performances, considering the Yankees haven’t participated in the Fall Classic since 2009, despite seven postseason appearances in that span.

[RELATED: How Kapler explained 'problem solving' in 2015 blog post]

It remains to be seen how aggressive the Giants will be in trying to re-sign Bumgarner, but it’s clear they won’t be the only ones after the left-hander this winter.