Tyler Austin Slated to Join Thunder
The Trenton Thunder offense has struggled to generate any sort of consistency after their first two games of the season. With little protection for catcher Gary Sanchez in the lineup, the Thunder have managed to plate just three runs in their first two games against New Hampshire. Saturday afternoon brought good news to Manager Tony Franklin when he confirmed that star-prospect Tyler Austin was due in Trenton on Monday to help jolt his order.
“Tyler is coming,” said Franklin. “I heard that rumor and made a call and it is true, he’s coming.”
All along, it was assumed that Austin would be with Trenton this season, but when a nagging right wrist injury limited his reps and at-bats this spring, the Yankees chose to keep Austin behind in Tampa so that he could strengthen his wrist before being tossed into game action. The 22-year old Austin was a 2013 Eastern League All-Star with Trenton after hitting .265 with six homers and 40 RBI; he also proved to be a vital piece in their historic championship run.
Austin began the 1,080 mile drive from Tampa to Trenton on Saturday afternoon and was expected to join the team on Monday morning. Because of the hectic travel schedule, Franklin indicated that he may give Austin a day or two to rest before inserting him into his lineup.
“We will have to see how close he is to playing,” Franklin said. “Apparently he is close to playing or can play; driving up for a few days, he may need a day or two to get his feet underneath him.”
Franklin indicated that he was not committed to just playing Austin in his customary spot in right field. He admitted that the organization has asked him to be more versatile and that he would see some time at a few different positions around the diamond.
“There is a possibility that he might be throughout the outfield, possibly third, possibly first, we’ll have to wait and see,” said Franklin. “When you swing the bat as well as Tyler, you try to get his in the lineup anywhere.”
Franklin added, “If he can play a number of position, it only increases his value, which is tremendous. I think more players should be able to do that. Those guys who can do that are called “baseball players.”
Franklin said a corresponding roster move would be made upon the activation of Austin but was not yet sure what it would be at this time.
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