Heathcott Looking Strong In Return For Yankees





NEW YORK—Listening to their medical staff, the Yankees never thought Slade Heathcott's career would be cut short by two surgeries on his left shoulder.

However, they knew it wasn't going to be easy for their first-round pick (29th overall) in the 2009 draft to bounce back. Nor was it going to be quick.

"It has taken a while, but the doctors always thought he would have a good shoulder," Yankees vice president Mark Newman said.

The second surgery was last July, and the Yankees still haven't let the 6-foot, 197-pound outfielder completely loose.

"The shoulder is fine and he has plus arm strength again, but we have asked him to not air it out," Newman said. "At times since he is such an aggressive player we have to watch what he is doing. We are playing him in center field one game and DHing him the next. But by next spring training he will be fine and play normal."

Through 52 games for high Class A Tampa, Heathcott was batting .307/.383/.487. According to a National League scout who saw Heathcott at the beginning of the season and then in July, he has made significant progress.

"In April he looked like a guy who had been away for a while, but later he was a guy driving the ball," the scout said.

Newman said, "He is still in the process of re-introducing himself to pitching on a daily basis. But he is getting there. His plate discipline is good and he is impacting the ball with power. He has huge tools and plays hard."

YANKEE DOODLES

• Mason Williams had labrum surgery on his left (non-throwing) shoulder. Williams, 20, hit .304/.359/.489 in 69 games for low Class A Charleston. He was promoted to Tampa and batted .277/.302/.422 in 22 games. Newman said the center fielder will be ready for spring training.

• While Manny Banuelos was officially shut down due to arm problems, general manager Brian Cashman hadn't announced the status of righthander Jose Campos.