Yankees looking to improve Tyler Austin's versatility in the infield

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Tyler Austin is going to get playing time at first and third base in Double-A Trenton.

Tyler Austin is finally headed from Tampa to Trenton to join the Double-A team. After missing much of last season, and being held out of the entirety of spring training games, Austin's wrist seems to be good to go. Trenton manager, Tony Franklin, said that Austin is either very close to being able to play in games, or already can play at this point.

Although Austin has spent the last few years playing right field, the Yankees want him to increase his versatility. They want him to get playing time at first base and third base, likely due to the overwhelming lack of first and third basemen in the organization right now. This won't be the first time that Austin has played the corners. In 2011, he spend the entire season splitting his time between first and third before eventually moving to right field in 2012. The decision to move him to right field sounds like it was because of his defense (or lack there of). Back in December of 2012, Mark Newman said "He's a better defender in right." During the 2011 season, Austin made 6 errors at third base through 194.2 innings and 2 errors at first base through 125 innings. Austin is only 22, though, and it could be that he would improve with more practice.

It isn't very likely that he will see major league time this season, aside from a pretty slim chance at a September call up. Still, it makes sense to try and increase his versatility, especially since the Yankees have all of the outfield spots locked up for the next few years. As we know from the current Kelly Johnson/Francisco Cervelli (?) first base backup plan, the Yankees are in need of minor league players who can play the corners (and are good hitters), and Austin has shown the ability to swing a hot bat. During last year's injury plagued season, Austin hit .265/.351/.378, which was down quite a bit from the previous two seasons. In 2012, he hit .322/.400/.559 with 17 home runs through 110 games. Hopefully a healthy wrist will lead to a repeat of those numbers.

Do you think it makes sense to try Austin at the corners again, or that it sounds like they moved him to right field for a reason (and that should keep him there)?

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