Pilittere Opening Some Eyes

Pilittere is making the move from Tampa to Trenton

P.J. Pilittere, who spent his first two seasons in Staten Island, made a successful jump to Tampa last year before culminating his breakout season of sorts with a strong showing in the Arizona Fall League. Now finally in Double-A, he is beginning to open some eyes in the Yankees organization.

"The outlook is a new season just like any other season," P.J. Pilittere modestly said of his promotion to Double-A Trenton this year. "You want to go through Spring Training to get your timing down offensively and defensively."

"The main thing you want to do is stay healthy, give yourself the best chance to stay healthy the whole season by taking care of your body as far as conditioning and weight-lifting, things like that. That's first and foremost. If your body is healthy that's going to give you the best chance to succeed and be consistent for the year."

Consistency is the reason why just about everybody is viewing him in a different light these days. After entering the 2006 season with just a career .236 batting average, Pilittere's average never dipped below .285 with the Tampa Yankees last year en route to hitting a career-high .302 before hitting .394 with the Peoria Saguaros in the Arizona Fall League.

His improved offensive approach is a big reason why the former Cal-State Fullerton product has gone from the NY-Penn League to the Eastern League in a little over a year. Part of that approach is staying within himself at the plate.

"I just like to consider myself a middle-of-the-field guy," he admitted. "My approach every at-bat is that simple when I'm going good, just thinking hard line-drive up the middle. If it happens to be in, maybe left-center gap. If it happens to be away, maybe right-center gap."

"When I get caught up in trying to hit home runs and driving balls out, it's not good for me. I know what I've got to do as a hitter, just focus on the middle of the field and try and hit more line drives to places."

As consistent as he has proven to be over the last calendar year, Pilittere realizes he has a new test in front of him in 2007 and he believes mental toughness is what is going to separate the men from the boys.

"This is kind of a separation for me this year, going from High-A to Double-A," he pointed out. "Basically the main thing is consistency. I know getting to that level that everybody can play. There's no secret, there's not much development anymore."

"I think it's about being more mentally tougher and maybe having a shorter memory. If you have a tough game or a tough time behind the plate or at the plate, you need to have a shorter memory to say 'I'm going to have it tomorrow' and you've got to get back on the horse as quick as you can."

"You can be your own worst enemy, especially when you get up against guys that are just as good as you if not better."

Confident he'll pass the proverbial 'Double-A test' and inching his way closer to the big leagues, Pilittere is starting to open some eyes in the Yankees organization as a legitimate big league catching prospect.

"I hope so," he said if he thinks he has opened some eyes in the organization with his play. "The main thing is you always want to move up and you want people to think highly of you in the organization. I would be pleased if they though highly of me as a person and a good teammate first."

"The other accolades, the personal accolades, they're nice to have at the end of the season to sit down as say 'it was a pretty good year'. I definitely have noticed a little more recognition from some of the higher-ups and front office staff. It's a little bit nicer to know that your back isn't against the wall everyday."

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