Carlos Vidal is rehabbing his way back from a significant injury earlier this season.

STATEN ISLAND, NY -- After missing nearly three months of baseball this year due to a thumb injury, Carlos Vidal is back on the field again and ready to pick up where he left off. Although only having played a handful of games since coming back so far, his previous years’ performances highlight how dominant a player he can be when healthy.

While playing Centerfield for the Tampa Yankees on May 7th against Clearwater, Vidal dove to make a catch on the second pitch of the game but in the process ended up breaking his thumb. 

Since then he has been working arduously to get his body back to full strength in order to play outfield and hit again.

“I was preparing my legs, I couldn’t do anything with my arm, so I was working hard with my legs, doing conditioning, lower body, just hanging in there," noted Vidal.  "My thumb is feeling better now, there isn’t any pain.”

For Vidal, the injury really threw him off when it happened.  He had come in this year looking to build off a very strong season with Pulaski in 2015.  In 60 games over there last year, he amassed a powerful .303 batting average while hitting nine home runs and driving in 46 runs.  He even stole 16 bases as well.

Interestingly enough, Vidal actually had an even better season in 2014 with one of the Yankees teams in the Dominican Summer League (DSL).  There, he played in 56 games and drove in 35 runs, stealing 13 bases and hitting an eye-catching .365. 

However, after the injury to his thumb shortly after arriving in Tampa, he has not played much.  In Staten Island, he is really looking to find his rhythm and timing at the plate again while trying to pick up right where he had left off with Pulaski last year. 

“I feel great.  It’s hard when you get hurt, when you’re out for about two months it’s not easy.  Just staying strong mentally, that’s very important [when getting injured], to getting back that season.  I feel great now, I’m just happy to be back in the game, on the field.”

Even though Vidal has not had much time in Staten Island yet, he is focused on working hard and getting himself back into the shape he needs to be in to perform as he has done the past two seasons.  Vidal has especially impressed Staten Island Yankees hitting coach Eric Duncan in the early going.

“He works hard.  He’s coming off a pretty serious injury with his thumb but he’s working hard getting back into a rhythm, getting back into timing, and a lot of stuff, it takes time.  When you miss that much time it’s not going to be easy, but he’s working hard and he’s doing all the right things,” lauded Duncan about Vidal’s focus.

Since Vidal has missed so much time with his thumb’s recovery [two and a half months], one main component of his game that he’s honing on right now is his plate vision.  Duncan is specifically looking to see Vidal work on readjusting to the timing of pitches and varying velocities that he’ll face. 

“For him right now, based on how early it is for him back here, he needs to get back into physically playing shape, to get back out there, see reps, see velocities, see off-speed [pitches], all that kind of stuff," Duncan pointed out. "He’s got a long way to go to get back into where he wants to be.”

Beyond the work that Vidal is putting in at the plate, he’s also concentrating on his defense.  Staten Island Yankees manager Dave Bialas praised Vidal’s defensive abilities to be top-caliber and among the best he’s seen. 

“[Vidal] plays excellent defense, he can play centerfield, left field, right field; he has good arm strength and he can run.  Defensively, his routes are very good, he’s a major league outfielder for sure to me, and he throws well too, with accuracy.”

During Vidal’s time here in Staten Island, Bialas would like to see him continue working on his timing and his versatility. 

“His timing looks pretty good right now,” Bialas added. “As a ballplayer he can steal bases; he’s a good base runner, he’s not real big but he has good bat speed, he can pull the ball, hit the ball the opposite direction, he’s a good player.  He needs to get some playing time in, to make sure his legs are in good shape, and his thumb seems well now.”

As he continues to gain more at-bats in Staten Island, Vidal looks to improve on his pitch recognition. 

“I haven’t seen many breaking balls in two and a half months, and I only had a couple batting practice sessions in Tampa [in May], so it’s just seeing a lot of pitches: curveballs, changeups, and getting ready for the fastball." Vidal said.  "I don’t feel too ready for the fastball now, but I’m trying to.”

“What I expect from him is to keep doing exactly what he’s doing, which is to be a leader, set an example, and work the right way," Duncan briefly emphasized some goals for Vidal this season.  "With his talent and his work ethic, the things on the field are going to take care of themselves.” 

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