Higashioka Already Steady

Higashioka is doing it on both sides of the ball

Staten Island Yankees starting catcher Kyle Higashioka has been steady both at the plate and behind it in this young 2009 season, being among the team leaders in average and RBI's.

The 2009 Spring Training session was a little different for Yankees catching prospect Kyle Higashioka. After spending a good portion of the spring working with the Double-A work group and the likes of Francisco Cervelli and Kyle Anson, Hikashioka had a spring in his step and brought it to Extended Spring Training and Staten Island for the season.

"I got some good experience with the Double-A squad in Spring Training and carried it over to Extended and here, so it was a step forward," he said. "I got to learn a lot from all the older guys and got to gain some valuable experience from guys who have been around it longer than me."

The California native's work wasn't as specific as one might think. He used the time in the Spring to work on every facet of his game both offensively and defensively, learning everything he could and studying the pitchers he was working with.

"I was working on every part of my game; hitting, catching, handling pitchers," Higashioka said. "You really have to be more precise with everything the further you go up. I did a good job adjusting and overall it gave me an idea of what lies ahead."

Higashioka is a levelheaded backstop and knows he has steps to take before ending up with the older players. Nonetheless, he prepared the same way he would, no matter where he would be playing this season.

The assignment to Extended Spring Training dictated his arrival in Staten Island, but nothing changed in the nineteen year-old's eyes.

"I try to stay on a level plain when working and preparing," he revealed. "I stay as steady as possible across the board no matter where I end up. I don't sit back if I know I'm heading here."

Even though he sits comfortably in terms of statistics, Higashoka's own stats are of little importance to him. He wants to help the pitchers stay comfortable and learn their game plans so he can be as much of an asset to them as possible.

"I think my biggest goal is to handle the pitching staff well and make sure they're doing a good job out there. It's a little tough the first couple games," he added.

"But I've had some guys that I've played with before. Personally, I think I could feel better about my plate appearances but I've felt steady behind the plate."

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