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Tyler Austin Hoping For A Normal Season

By Jed Weisberger ~ April 19th, 2014. Filed under: Yanks Minors.

TRENTON, NJ – Just a short year ago, Tyler Austin seemed ready to make his move.

Coming off a year in which he hit .322 (133-for-413) combined for Single-A Charleston and Tampa, along with a short stint at Double-A Trenton, he was rated the No. 3 Yankees prospect by Baseball America and the 68th-best overall.

Able to play the outfield, with a plus-arm in right, and third base, a 2014 arrival at Yankee Stadium was not out of the question.

Then came the 2013 season, cut short by a right wrist injury after the then-21-year-old admitted he had been having pain in that area for close to a month. He ended up hitting .257 (82-for-319) with six homers and 40 RBIs for Trenton.

“Not the season I wanted,’’ said the native of Conyers, Ga., who reported this season at a solid 6-foot-1, 220 pounds. “This year, I just want to settle in and have a normal season.’’

Normal to Austin is the .323 he recorded in 2012. He showed flashes in Trenton’s playoff drive to the Eastern League Championship last season, calling out Mets prospect Noah Syndergaard and getting to him for two extra base hits vs. Binghamton en route to a .304 (7-for-23) effort in the postseason.

After spending a short time in Extended Spring Training, Austin reported to the Thunder. He sees fellow outfielder Ramon Flores has already earned a Triple-A roster spot. So far he is hitting .211 with 3 RBI.

“I feel good, and I know it will all come together,’’ said Austin. “I know what I need to do,’’

The Yankees want Thunder manager Tony Franklin to play Austin at various positions this season.  He already started at third base once this season and, even with the return of Kyle Roller to Trenton Sunday, could see some time at first base.

One can tell Austin worked hard during the off-season. He appears as if he has put on more muscle weight, and is hoping his power numbers return.

“Tyler is a good player with a lot of potential,’’ said Franklin. “He’ll be in right field a lot, but he’ll also play a few other positions.

“The more versatile a player is, the more valuable he becomes and the better chance he has at getting to the big leagues.’’

Austin is making good contact, hitting the ball hard and knows the hits will come.

Wrist injuries can limit what how a player can perform – just ask Mark Teixiera – and regaining timing after such an injury is often a project.

Austin is looking to assume a leadership role in Trenton this season, just as he did in last season’s Eastern League playoffs. Calling out Syndergaard and backing up his comments were a key factor ionj Trenton’s post-season dominance.

So what is in the cards for Austin, whose prospect star has faded in some quarters? Will he have a normal season? Will a hot streak propel him to a promotion to Triple-A? Will he become a super-utility guy playing a few positions?

Those are the questions surrounding him.


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Jed spent 35 years in the newspaper business working as both a writer and editor, in both sports and news under tight deadline pressure. As both sports editor at the Indiana (Pa.) Gazette and a copy editor/columnist at The Times of Trenton, he made daily decisions on overall coverage and designed and produced thousands of pages and special sections. Since accepting a buyout from The Times, he has concentrated on broadening his writing and editing horizons to the medical, academic and business fields. Anyone is welcome to Google Jed to see the different places in print, on the Web and in front of the camera his professional expertise has spread to.

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