ON THE FARM AT LAKE ELSINORE
~~WITH AUSTIN HEDGES, MAY 25, 2013~~
We caught up with Austin Hedges up at Lake Elsinore last month. He had just completed BP for the first time and said it felt great to be swinging the bat again.
“Getting drafted and playing pro ball” was the goal that Austin set for himself at an early age. He was a natural when it came to playing baseball. “It was almost out of the womb you could say. My dad was the coach and he saw I kind of had a knack for it, a love for the game right away, as soon as I could pick up a ball and a bat.” Austin started at the age of 3 years old playing T-ball with his dad, “he had me out in the front yard messing with the T, just messing around putting a bat in my hands letting me try to have fun with the game. I really have a pretty clear memory of it.”
Growing up, Austin continued to play Little League and kept his eye closely on his favorite player, All-Star Catcher Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez. “I have always been a catcher and I grew up with him being the best catcher in the league. He had a cannon and one of the few to be MVP as a catcher, so I grew up idolizing him.” Austin played high school ball at Junipero Serra Catholic High School, where he continued to develop as a catcher, earning a reputation as someone who would call a good game behind the plate, as well as being regarded as a plus defender. During his senior year of high school, Austin hit .366 and continued to excel as a catcher.
When the Padres drafted Austin Hedges in the 2nd round of the 2011 draft (82nd pick) , they were hoping he would choose to sign with them rather than go to UCLA and play college ball. It was a gamble that paid off as Austin chose to sign with San Diego after the Padres offered a $3 million dollar signing bonus to seal the deal. “My goal since I started playing T-Ball was to be a major league baseball player and just getting to be a part of this Padres organization is a dream come true.”
Austin started with the Padres Arizona Rookie club and moved on to A- Eugene, where he hit a combined .231 for the season. In 2012, he moved up to A Ft. Wayne where he started progressing as a hitter. He finished the season with a .279 average 28 2B’s, 10 HR’s 56 RBI’s and 14 SB! For this season, Austin was promoted to A+ Lake Elsinore. He suffered a bone bruise in his hand after getting hit by a pitch, which caused him to miss most of May.
As of this writing he is hitting .272 with 12 2B’s, 2 HR’s, and 20 RBI’s and appears to be 100% healthy, which is a great thing for the Padres organization.
Click HERE to access his up-to-date stats.
When his career is over, he wants to continue in baseball. “Probably coaching baseball,” Austin told us at the conclusion of our interview with him. “This is the game I love and I can’t ever see myself leaving it.” We can’t see you leaving it either.
Be sure to connect with Austin ….
Lake Elsinore is a terrific ballpark and a great place to take in some wonderful baseball (see schedule) and see the stars of tomorrow. We highly recommend you take a drive up the I-15 and enjoy a ballgame at The Diamond!
Interview & Story by Wayne McBrayer, TheCasualFan
Editing & Photography by Rebecca Herman, TheBaseballPHD