New York Yankees: Tyler Austin Takes First Step Toward Return
Sep 8, 2016; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees first baseman Tyler Austin (26) hits a walk off home run against the Tampa Bay Rays during the ninth inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

New York Yankees 1B/OF Tyler Austin took his first step in his quest to return to the Bronx on Monday by facing live pitching. 

The New York Yankees are one step closer to having their utility outfielder/first baseman Tyler Austin back in action.

On Monday, the 25-year-old announced via Twitter that he took live pitching for the first time since breaking his foot in February before spring training contests began. He started the 2017 season on the 60-day disabled list.

Austin can also begin his rehab assignment as early as this week. Given that he missed the entirety of spring action and a huge part of the regular season, a lengthy rehab stint could be in store for New York’s 13th round pick of the 2010 MLB June Amateur Draft.

In 31 games for the Yankees in 2016, Austin slashed .241/.300/.458 with five home runs and 12 RBIs. When proportioned to 470 plate appearances (161 games), that’s a 26 HR/62 RBI total.

Manager Joe Girardi would obviously love to have Austin back in the mix as soon as possible, as his squad ranks 29th in WAR (-0.7) from the first base position this season thanks to an injured Greg Bird and a 43 percent strikeout rate by Chris Carter.

When Tyler Austin is ready to return he may find himself on a minor league affiliate unless the Yankees are ready to send Carter packing. That bridge will be crossed when he’s back and healthy, though.