A New Thing for Antonelli

Antonelli is trying to find his stroke again

Joining a new organization is difficult for all players. Mid-season is even harder. Newly acquired Scranton/Wilkes-Barre utility man experienced this for the fist time. Matt Antonelli was designated for assignment by the Baltimore Orioles Triple-A team Norfolk Tides on May 13. He was signed by the New York Yankees four days later and assigned to SWB.

"[It's the] first time I ever moved from one team to another in the middle of the season so definitely weird but kinda how baseball goes," Antonelli said.

Antonelli got off to a slow start with the Tides, hitting .204 (19-93) with seven runs batted in. Since joining the Yankees, he has remained in a hitting slump. In his twelve games played, he has hit .200 (10-50) with three runs batted in.

"I haven't been able to find my swing and I haven't felt comfortable." Antonelli mentioned. "In April, I did not hit well and haven't got it going in May but it's a long season so stuff like that happens.

"I'm usually high on-base guy and usually hit at top of the order, 1 or 2. I'm not going to put up huge power numbers or anything like that. Just a guy that gets on base, hits and runs, controls the bat, and can run a little bit."

The first round selection by the San Diego Padres in the 2006 MLB Draft struggled with wrist injuries in 2009 and missed all of 2010 season. He signed a minor league deal with the Washington Nationals in 2011 to resurrect his career.

Antonelli bounced back with a strong 2011 campaign where he was named International League Mid-Season All-Star for Triple-A Syracuse. The 27-year-old connected for 30 runs batted in, 19 doubles, and posted a .297 average in 86 games played. He signed with the Baltimore Orioles in the offseason with an attempt to secure a roster spot but struggled at the plate.

"Last year I had a good year and hit around .300 but I had a tough month where I hit around .200," he said.

Antonelli acknowledges slumps are part of baseball and that it will happen to every player. He is aware this has gone on longer than he obviously would have wanted but he continues to search for ways to get out of it.

Besides his current hitting woes, Antonelli continues to try to excel on the field. He was drafted as a third baseman out of Wake Forest but the San Diego Padres quickly moved him to second base. It was not until he got to Washington that he began to play multiple positions. Since 2011, Antonelli has manned the hot corner, shortstop, second, first and played some outfield. He has only committed four errors this season [none with Scranton].

"I think the more versatility you can have it gives the team a better chance and gives you yourself a better chance to sticking with the team or getting called up," Antonelli proclaimed. "I am willing to do whatever they want me to."

Antonelli is currently on the 40-man roster. He has not played in the majors since joining the Padres towards the end of the 2008 season. At that time, he was considered one of the best second base prospects in the minors.

The utility man now has a better understanding on what he needs to do to get better than compared to when he was younger and new to second base.

"I think the big thing is just consistency, just not being so up and down and staying even keel with your game," he concluded. "I think that's what every Major League [team] is looking for, a guy that they can put in there and know what they will get from them and that's what we're all striving for."

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