A two-sport star who could have played Division I college basketball, shortstop C.J. Henry made national news when he was the key piece of the four-player package that the Yankees sent to the Phillies for right fielder Bobby Abreu. Still extremely raw, Henry has struggled in his first full season of professional baseball and was hitting .236/.321/.353 in 343 at-bats in the low Class A South Atlantic League between Charleston and now Lakewood. The Yankees first-rounder in 2005 from Putnam City (Okla.) High, Henry took some time recently to chat with us about the trade and who would win in a game of one-on-one basketball between him and former teammate Austin Jackson, who had a basketball scholarship at Georgia Tech.
Baseball America: What was your reaction to getting traded?
C.J. Henry: I kind of was surprised, but I kind of knew that the Yankees were going to make move to try and better the big league team for the playoffs. I figured it could be anybody.
BA: Do you read the rumor mill? Had you heard your name come up at all in trades?
CH: No (I don’t read that stuff), but my agent had kind of said my name was in the mix, that it had been brought up a couple of times.
BA: Is it an honor to be traded for a player as good as Bob Abreu?
CH: This is a business, so I am just taking it as that. I got traded, it doesn’t matter for who. It is not really an honor.
BA: Some of these stories out there have kind of said, ‘who are these guys that got traded for Abreu?’ Does that motivate you?
CH: Baseball America, I read the one that came out this month. It is just a bunch of negative stuff about me. That is the media, the media talks. It doesn’t motivate me that much. It does, in a way, but I don’t let it get to me like that because the media is going to talk, and those people don’t know much anyway.
BA: Do you miss playing basketball?
CH: Every now and then.
BA: When you were playing with Austin Jackson, did you guys talk about your glory days on the hardwood? Did you watch the NCAA tournament and think, ‘that could’ve been me?’
CH: Yeah, we talked about basketball a lot. I watched (the tournament), but all in fun. I’m watching basketball just like everybody else. I mean I could have been out there, but I am happy with my decision (to play baseball).
BA: Now that you and Austin aren’t on the same team, you can be honest. Who would win in a game of one on one?
CH: It’s still me. It would probably be pretty close, but I think I would win.