Austin Jackson belted a grand slam today and guess what happened? He was reassigned to the minor-league camp as well. Tough team to make, those Yankees.
But if you have to get cut, Jackson found a good way. After driving a 3-2 pitch over the fence in left, he came back to the clubhouse with a big smile and did an interview with the writers. Joe Girardi then sent Reggie Jackson to get him.
Austin went into the office, got the bad news and came back still smiling. He hit .333 this spring with three homers, 10 RBI, a double and a triple. You don’t like that he struck out 12 times, but that part of his game should improve. Pitch selection is rarely a strength for 22-year-olds who grew up playing as much basketball as baseball.
Mr. October loves him and has worked with Austin for several years, visiting his minor-league teams. He also spent some time with him in the cage this spring. “He’s my man,” Reggie said. “I loved seeing that home run.”
Austin welcomes the advice. If Reggie Jackson talks, you listen.
“It’s a good thing. He works with me in the cage and gets me back zoned in to where I need to be at when I’m struggling a little bit,” Austin said. “It’s good to have a Hall of Famer working with you every day. … If I see a pitch I like, he wants me to let it fly.”
The Yankees have worked with Jackson on how he “loads” his body at the plate, which is essentially a transfer of weight forward in his swing and a shift of his body so he can better pick up pitches.
“I have a lot of things I need to accomplish before I get to the next level,” Jackson said. “I need to recognize off-speed pitches better.”
Said Joe Girardi: “I think he was night and day when compared to last year’s camp, the adjustments that he’s made. He has played heads-up baseball. … He and (Brett) Gardner can bring a lot to a club. It’s not offense, offense, offense. They can run the bases and track down balls. It’s an exciting brand of baseball.”
Jackson will likely start the season with AAA Scranton. He’s an exciting player and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him in the Bronx in September and competing for a job next season. I’ve had a chance to spend some time talking with Austin and he has a great personality. I’ll be rooting for him to succeed.
· Eduardo Nunez also was reassigned while Juan Miranda was optioned down. The Yankees have 39 players in camp now.