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Wednesday/Thursday BP: Mike Yastrzemski on why he struggled against LHP in 2021

In an interview with The Athletic, Yastrzemski talks about how one at bat last year caused him to lose confidence at the plate against left handed pitchers.

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Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the San Francisco Giants 7-2 during game 4 of the National League Division Series game. Photo by Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images

Good morning, baseball fans!

Mike Yastrzemski has become one of my favorite baseball players over the last few years. Not just because of his performance on the field, but also because he has a generally likeable personality, a good sense of humor, and usually has something interesting to say.

Andrew Baggarly of The Athletic interviewed him for a recent article and Yastrzemski did not disappoint on that front. It’s a great piece and I highly recommend reading the full thing if you’ve got a subscription. It’s full of anecdotes about his family, a really funny spelling mistake, and his perspective on a lot of things about last season.

There was one section that stood out to me more than the others, though. Yastrzemski had a rough go of it in his 2021 season with the San Francisco Giants, coming off of a very impressive 2020. Baggarly did not mince words when discussing it with him and Yastrzemski was open about a part of his struggle that might not have been so noticeable to those watching him.

At the end of spring training last year, you may recall that Yastrzemski was hit by a pitch from Oakland Athletics pitcher Sean Manaea that caught him on his left hand. After that, he says that he struggled with his confidence at the plate. He doesn’t outright call it PTSD, but it sure sounds like it:

Getting hit on my hand up near my face kind of put me in a weird mindset. I had to fight that. There are certain moments that can have a longer impact on you. I had to work through that last year and try to eliminate it. So having a break to recalibrate and reset my mind hopefully will help me get back to where I was.

He goes on to say that this affected his approach at the plate, especially against left handed pitchers. Which is completely understandable. And I’m glad he brought it up, even if indirectly. PTSD sucks. And I guess it’s just a reminder that what you see on the field isn’t the whole story.

One last note, for our “How many days has it been since the owners unnecessarily locked out the players” section (it’s been 85 days, btw). Yastrzemski had this to say when the topic of the negotiations came up and I really liked it, so I thought I’d share that as well:

But my only real perspective on the whole thing is that I want to leave the game better than when I got into it. That’s important to me. You could look at it from the perspective of, ‘I went through this so you have to do it, too.’ But that’s a poor way to do it. We need to learn from our experiences to continue to grow the game.

This is a perspective I definitely respect and wish more people shared in general.

Have a good mid-week everyone!