While Sardinha only managed a .258 average in 2005 with Trenton, he set career highs with 30 doubles and 68 RBI's. In his young tenure with the Clippers, Sardinha has piled up a .276 average with three doubles, one home run, and seven RBI's. The 23-year-old has gotten off to a very solid start with Columbus.
Sardinha is excited to be playing at the Triple-A level and he feels playing with a group full of former major leaguers will help him immensely. Columbus has had a different feel this year than any previous season in the past. Never have there been so many former big leaguers on the ball club and Sardinha believes he can feed off their experience.
"It's been a long time coming getting to play up here," Sardinha told PinstripesPlus.com. "We've got a bunch of guys that have been in the big leagues up here and it's great learning experience because they know what it takes to be there. I just want to make the best of this opportunity."
The stigma of being labeled as a first round draft pick is never easy to handle when you're such a young ballplayer. The pressure begins to mount as the days go by and you have to continue to prove your worth to the franchise. Sardinha admits he has put far too much pressure on himself to perform and he is now focused on letting the game come to him.
"My whole career I've had a lot of pressure on me and I guess I've always put too much pressure on myself to live up to expectations. I've learned so much playing for five seasons and now I'm trying to stay consistent on a daily basis," admitted Sardinha.
It is important to be sharp in all phases of baseball if you want to make it to the big league level, however, hitting is the ultimate ingredient. Sardinha agrees.
"Hitting is what is going to get you to the big leagues. If you can hit, they're going to try to find a place for you in the lineup," said Sardinha.
A player such as Sardinha cannot afford to be a liability in the field and the young prospect believes defense can be almost as pivotal. Being a utility guy, the thought of becoming a designated hitter is unlikely and far from reality.
"Hitting will get you there but defense will keep you there. I try to take pride in all areas of my game, hitting and defense," said Sardinha.
"I want to have quality at-bats each and every day. I want a consistent approach everyday that I come to the ballpark. Hopefully, if I stay with the same approach, everything will take care of itself," said Sardinha.
Corner outfield help is a necessity for the Yankees in their run for a postseason berth. You may think that Sardinha has high hopes to provide depth in New York in September. He will tell you that his hopes are not set on this year but rather in the next couple seasons. Sure, he would be excited to help the Yankees in 2006, however, he realizes his time will come when he is ready for it.
"I don't really worry about it because my job is to go out there, play hard everyday and try to win games. I'm not really looking forward to this year, but as long as I do that, hopefully I'll be there in the next couple years," said Sardinha.
Columbus acting manager Kevin Long is extremely impressed with his first impressions of Sardinha, both offensively and defensively.
"His (Sardinha) at-bats have been nothing but quality at-bats and he's hitting the ball hard. He's been playing good defense and he's a real good player. I've been thoroughly impressed so far," said Long.
Sardinha evaluates his 2006 season as up and down. A change of scenery at the next level in Columbus may be an added bonus to develop more consistency.
"My season has been like a roller coaster ride offensively. I'm just trying to keep it on a level plane and if you can do that, then shots at consistency will be much higher," said Sardinha.
The former first round pick has all the potential in the world and could eventually become a solid contributor in the Bronx in the future. Time will tell the direction his career will go and he could provide some youth and new blood in pinstripes soon.