Austin Turning The Page

This time a year ago Tyler Austin was in the midst of dealing with an ailing wrist, and injury that not only limited him to just 83 games with the Trenton Thunder in 2013 but caused him to miss most of the Arizona Fall League. The wrist still hurt him early this season but he bounced back in a big way and is finding more success in the AFL this year. He says the wrist is no longer an issue.

He hit just .253 with six home runs in 2013 for the Trenton Thunder and played all of just two games for them after July 11th. He was all set to get some much needed repetitions in the Arizona Fall League a year ago with the Scottsdale Scorpions but lasted less than a week, batting .333 in four games before shutting it down.

He proceeded to hit just .248 in the first half with the Thunder in 2014 before turning things around in a big way in the second half, batting a robust .336 with a .954 OPS after the All Star break.

"I think it went all right," he said of his 2014 season. "I had my ups and downs this year. The beginning of the year wasn't so good but I'm happy with the way I finished and what I did in the second half."

Wrist injuries are very tricky. It takes a long while for the wrist to completely heal and, despite it being quite evident that he wasn't playing 100 percent healthy in the first half, Austin, not one to make excuses, was evidently healthier and more productive the further he got away from the injury.

"The success came in the second half from me making the adjustments," he said. "I don't know that you can say [my first half] was due to my wrist and I'm not going to do that. I just think [my better second half] was just from the adjustments being made."

There is no denying that he found a lot more success from going to back to what allowed him to have much more success at the lower levels, and that was a concentrated effort on using the whole field more and not trying to be so pull-happy in the name of increased power numbers.

"As I have said before [Trenton hitting coach] Marcus [Thames] and I worked hard all season and we finally came up with a consistent routine [and] a consistent plan to do everyday, and things started turning around for me.

"That's something we focused in on, trying to use the whole field more and not trying to pull the ball down the left field line for a homer every time, and just start driving it to both sides of the field."

Obviously healthier than he had been in some time and finally enjoying the kind of success he had grown accustomed to earlier in his career, Austin was sent back to the Arizona Fall League for a second time and it is doubly sweet for him considering he had to leave the AFL prematurely a year ago.

"It was very exciting [being sent back]," he said. "It's one of those things where I get to play with the best minor league players in all of baseball so it's definitely exciting.

"I just think it's awesome to be out here. It's my second time -- unfortunately I got taken out last year -- and I'm having a ton of fun out here. I'm really excited to be here."

He's doing well yet again with the Scottsdale Scorpions, hitting .322 with two home runs through his first 15 games in the Arizona Fall League, and trying to carry over the momentum he built up in the second half of his 2014 campaign.

"I think it's going pretty well. I'm working hard out here and doing what they tell me, and things are going pretty well.

"I'm just trying to stay consistent with my routine and everything I did towards the end of the year. The adjustments that I made, I'm just trying to carry those over out here and not let the situation out here change the way I go about my business."

He's basically trying to be the same guy he was in the second half this past season and finish off his strong start to the Arizona Fall League, and complete a very good turnaround from earlier this year.

"It's big but I'm just going out and have fun everyday," he said. "This game is fun and being out here with the best minor league players in the world is a good time, and that's what I'm going to do, I'm just going to go out there, enjoy myself, and have some fun. The other stuff just takes care of itself."

It's a lot easier to be productive and have fun when you're playing the game completely healthy. While Austin is the first one to refrain from blaming his rather less than stellar than first half on a then still ailing wrist injury, he can't help but feel he has turned the proverbial page in regards to the injury.

"I honestly don't think it's an issue anymore. I think we're past that," he concluded.

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