Austin Back At It

TAMPA, FL – Despite missing some time after getting hit in the head by a pitch, Tyler Austin has proven he can play at any level the Yankees decide to put him. After a monster year last year with the Gulf Coast League Yankees and the Staten Island Yankees in which Austin hit .354, he has continued to succeed in Tampa, where he is currently hitting .295.

Tyler Austin began the 2012 season with Charleston where he dominated opposing pitchers, batting .320 with 14 home runs and 54 RBI in 70 games. Austin was chosen as a South Atlantic Conference Mid-Season All-Star and was selected to play in the Futures Game. Then, the Tampa Yankees gave Austin a call.

Soon after joining the Tampa Yankees in early July, Austin was hit in the head by a pitch and was later found to have had a concussion. He was forced to miss the Futures Game and missed about three weeks overall.

"I got hit in the head with a pitch, and they said I had a concussion," Austin said. "I just had a little bit of a headache. It was tough that I had to miss the Futures Game, but they were looking out for my best interest and you have got to go with what they say. I agree with them 110 percent.

"I'd say I was feeling a lot better four or five days, maybe a week later," Austin said. "I missed about 20 days I think, but it was all precautionary.

"I'm feeling really great right now. My performance has been pretty good since the injury. I've been working really hard to get a few things back to normal swing wise and things like that."

Hitting coach Justin Turner knows that it is necessary to take head injuries very carefully, especially for such a talented prospect.

"They're just so cautious with head injuries now, and a lot of it is out of your hands as a trainer," Turner said. "Any kind of concussion stuff goes straight to the Major League Baseball office. Anything in the head must be taken very seriously."

Last season, Austin struggled a bit defensively at first and third base. He was moved to right field this season, and has excelled there.

"He made a throw [the other day] that was a clothesline straight to the plate, no bounce or anything," Turner said.

"I like the position change," Austin said. "I'm really enjoying right field, I'm having a lot of fun out there and I feel very comfortable. I'm happy that we made the switch.

"Defensively, I'd say every aspect of my game needs improvement but my ability to put throws on line to bases is a strength," he said. "Wherever they put me I'm gonna go out there and play 110 percent each and every play, so it doesn't really matter if I'm in right, left, first, third catching, whatever."

At the plate, Austin has maintained an impressive average as long as he's been in the minor leagues. However, after hitting 14 home runs in 70 games with Charleston, he finally hit his first Florida State League home run on Thursday. Coach Turner isn't worried a bit about Austin's power.

"These ballparks here are big and the ball doesn't carry as well in the hot, humid air," Turner said. "He hit two balls of the wall the other day. The power is there. It's not can he hit them, but rather when is he going to."

Austin's most positive assets may be his work ethic and determination.

"He's a tireless worker," Turner said. "He gets his work in the cage every day. He is always focused on what he's doing; there is no complacency in his work. He wants to play in the big leagues really bad.

"He has the strength, he has the athleticism, and I think it gives him a shot to move up pretty quick. He has a combination of hitting ability and power as much as anybody we have in this organization."

"He's a top 50 minor league prospect," Turner stated. "Statistically, he's putting up huge numbers, in this, his first full season. He just needs experience. He's getting better every day. He's just strong. He wants to play in the big leagues as bad as anybody I've ever seen.

"He's such a hard worker. If you wanna look at intangibles, he has great leadership skills. He's here to get to the big leagues and whatever he has to do to get there, he'll do it. He wants it bad and he's got a shot."

Austin is healthy again and completely focused on his goal: to do everything in his power to make it to the Major Leagues.

"Every aspect of my game needs to get better, and each and every day I'm gonna go out there and work my butt off to make myself a better player," Austin said. "Everything needs to get better if I want to play in Yankee Stadium one day, and I do. Hopefully we finish up the season strong and get a ring at the end of it."

The flame that fuels Tyler Austin is well lit, and if he keeps performing the way he has been, he will have a good chance to keep moving up the system quickly.


Pinstripes Plus Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nTyler Austin began the 2012 season with Charleston where he dominated opposing pitchers, batting .320 with 14 home runs and 54 RBI in 70 games. Austin was chosen as a South Atlantic Conference Mid-Season All-Star and was selected to play in the Futures Game. Then, the Tampa Yankees gave Austin a call.
\r\n
\r\nSoon after joining the Tampa Yankees in early July, Austin was hit in the head by a pitch and was later found to have had a concussion. He was forced to miss the Futures Game and missed about three weeks overall.
\r\n
\r\n\"I got hit in the head with a pitch, and they said I had a concussion,\" Austin said. \"I just had a little bit of a headache. It was tough that I had to miss the Futures Game, but they were looking out for my best interest and you have got to go with what they say. I agree with them 110 percent.
\r\n
\r\n\"I'd say I was feeling a lot better four or five days, maybe a week later,\" Austin said. \"I missed about 20 days I think, but it was all precautionary.
\r\n
\r\n\"I'm feeling really great right now. My performance has been pretty good since the injury. I've been working really hard to get a few things back to normal swing wise and things like that.\"
\r\n
\r\nHitting coach Justin Turner knows that it is necessary to take head injuries very carefully, especially for such a talented prospect.
\r\n
\r\n\"They're just so cautious with head injuries now, and a lot of it is out of your hands as a trainer,\" Turner said. \"Any kind of concussion stuff goes straight to the Major League Baseball office. Anything in the head must be taken very seriously.\"
\r\n
\r\nLast season, Austin struggled a bit defensively at first and third base. He was moved to right field this season, and has excelled there.
\r\n
\r\n\"He made a throw [the other day] that was a clothesline straight to the plate, no bounce or anything,\" Turner said.
\r\n
\r\n\"I like the position change,\" Austin said. \"I'm really enjoying right field, I'm having a lot of fun out there and I feel very comfortable. I'm happy that we made the switch.
\r\n
\r\n\"Defensively, I'd say every aspect of my game needs improvement but my ability to put throws on line to bases is a strength,\" he said. \"Wherever they put me I'm gonna go out there and play 110 percent each and every play, so it doesn't really matter if I'm in right, left, first, third catching, whatever.\"
\r\n
\r\nAt the plate, Austin has maintained an impressive average as long as he's been in the minor leagues. However, after hitting 14 home runs in 70 games with Charleston, he finally hit his first Florida State League home run on Thursday. Coach Turner isn't worried a bit about Austin's power.
\r\n
\r\n\"These ballparks here are big and the ball doesn't carry as well in the hot, humid air,\" Turner said. \"He hit two balls of the wall the other day. The power is there. It's not can he hit them, but rather when is he going to.\"
\r\n
\r\nAustin's most positive assets may be his work ethic and determination.
\r\n
\r\n\"He's a tireless worker,\" Turner said. \"He gets his work in the cage every day. He is always focused on what he's doing; there is no complacency in his work. He wants to play in the big leagues really bad.
\r\n
\r\n\"He has the strength, he has the athleticism, and I think it gives him a shot to move up pretty quick. He has a combination of hitting ability and power as much as anybody we have in this organization.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"He's a top 50 minor league prospect,\" Turner stated. \"Statistically, he's putting up huge numbers, in this, his first full season. He just needs experience. He's getting better every day. He's just strong. He wants to play in the big leagues as bad as anybody I've ever seen.
\r\n
\r\n\"He's such a hard worker. If you wanna look at intangibles, he has great leadership skills. He's here to get to the big leagues and whatever he has to do to get there, he'll do it. He wants it bad and he's got a shot.\"
\r\n
\r\nAustin is healthy again and completely focused on his goal: to do everything in his power to make it to the Major Leagues.
\r\n
\r\n\"Every aspect of my game needs to get better, and each and every day I'm gonna go out there and work my butt off to make myself a better player,\" Austin said. \"Everything needs to get better if I want to play in Yankee Stadium one day, and I do. Hopefully we finish up the season strong and get a ring at the end of it.\"
\r\n
\r\nThe flame that fuels Tyler Austin is well lit, and if he keeps performing the way he has been, he will have a good chance to keep moving up the system quickly.
\r\n
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