This winter, the Yankees at least considered the idea of moving Austin back to third base, but they ultimately decided to keep him in right field for the time being.
“He’s a better defender in right,” vice president of baseball operations Mark Newman said. “But (putting him back at third) is something we’ve thought about. It’s a possibility.”
Austin played third base in 2011, his first full season in the Yankees’ system, but shifted to right field last year and took off on a tear that took him from Low-A Charleston on Opening Day to a cup of coffee with Double-A Trenton to end the season. He drew surprisingly positive reviews for his work in the outfield, certainly better than the scouting reports on his third base defense. He’s definitely a bat first player though, so the defense just needs to be passable so long as he keeps raking at the plate.
Of course, Austin is probably still at least a year away from the big leagues, so it really makes no sense to talk about him as a possible fill in for A-Rod. That said, if he can stick at third base he could certainly become the heir apparent to the spot, assuming Alex will be forced into a primary DH role in the not too distant future. Then again, the Yankees need an outfielder too, so if Austin is more comfortable in that position there’s no particular need to move him in order to find a place to play if and when he’s ready for the big leagues.