"Anytime you get extra work like that it's good," Mitch Hilligoss said of Instructs. "I was hampered a little bit by a hamstring injury but I got to sit in on meetings and got some work in towards the end of it."
Injuring his hamstring in the final game of the South Atlantic season while stealing third base, Hilligoss and the Yankees didn't expect him to see any game action.
"I tried to swing on that first day we got back down there for Instructs," he revealed. "The first couple of swings were fine in the cages and then when we go into live batting practice I couldn't twist the way I needed on that front leg.
"That was something going in, that it would be questionable and lucky if I did get into one [game]. The games weren't necessarily the biggest part. Obviously I would have liked to have played in one to put some of the things that I learned into the games but I wasn't able to, that's part of it I guess."
Unable to participate in actual games, he did get plenty of reps and instruction at second base during intense fielding drills, which was the original plan anyway.
"I did get some work in there [second base]," said Hilligoss. "It bothered me a little bit laterally but we worked mostly on double-play feeds and positioning like that. I did get some work in at second base but it was just to get my feet wet so some time in the future if they do need to move me, that's an option. I got the job accomplished what I needed to get done when I was there."
Prior to moving to third base in Staten Island a year ago the former Purdue Boilermaker played shortstop growing up. While he had plenty of experience in the middle infield, it was quite different for him playing the other side.
"It is obviously. The angle on the turns for the double-play is different and it's probably the hardest. It changes your direction of momentum.
"To be able to pivot your feet and actually re-direct everything to first base is probably the hardest part about it. The double-play feeds are similar yet so much different. You've got to use more footwork."
Needing more footwork is part of the equation. The other is developing more flexibility in his lower-half and improving that has now become one of his top priorities for this offseason.
"I think that would be a good way of saying it, just stay flexible," he admitted. "At the end of Instructs meeting, we wanted to see what second base was like.
"We saw what we needed to see and as of right now I'm a third baseman, but hopefully now they know I can play second base or at least be efficient enough that if something were to happen or fortunate to move up, I could play second base."
Only getting to 75 or 80 percent health-wise by the end of Instructs, the 22-year old did work some in the cages offensively and took fielding practice at both second base and third base during mini-camp.
But while he says he felt quite comfortable at second base by the end, he also knows third base will remain his home for the foreseeable future.
"I didn't think it was bad," he said of how he felt at second base. "The more I was there, the more I talked with [the coaches] - a lot of the time we'd sit there and talk about situations - all that helps.
"They explained what the plan maybe was, that I could be moving. It's not in concrete as far as I know and when I left [Instructs] I was still a third baseman."
Hilligoss To Remain At Third For Now
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