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Suspension reduced, Austin out for 4 games

First baseman appeals after receiving 5-game sentence for charging mound April 11; term begins Friday vs. Angels
Special to MLB.com

NEW YORK -- Tyler Austin doesn't look like a guy who needs a day off, but the Yankees know he's about to get a few of them. While Major League Baseball cut Austin's suspension for inciting a benches-clearing incident April 11 in Boston from five games to four, he'll have to start serving it Friday in Anaheim against the Angels.

"The timing's not perfect, obviously," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said Thursday before the decision was announced. "He's been a really important player to us. We're getting ready to go to Anaheim, where we're going to face two lefties, and we really like him against lefties. But that is the situation we're in."

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NEW YORK -- Tyler Austin doesn't look like a guy who needs a day off, but the Yankees know he's about to get a few of them. While Major League Baseball cut Austin's suspension for inciting a benches-clearing incident April 11 in Boston from five games to four, he'll have to start serving it Friday in Anaheim against the Angels.

"The timing's not perfect, obviously," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said Thursday before the decision was announced. "He's been a really important player to us. We're getting ready to go to Anaheim, where we're going to face two lefties, and we really like him against lefties. But that is the situation we're in."

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Austin charged the mound after he was hit by a Joe Kelly pitch at Fenway Park. Kelly was originally suspended for six games, and Austin for five, and both players appealed.

"I don't want to get into whether I agree with [the decision] or not, but I'm happy they knocked one game down," Austin said. "I'm thankful for that."

With Austin out and with Brandon Drury still on a rehab assignment in the Minor Leagues, the Yankees will most likely play Neil Walker at first base. Walker is off to a slow start, with a .172 average and no home runs in 64 at-bats.

"My timing, my rhythm, my swing hasn't been where it needs to be," Walker said. "But I've done a lot of cage work over the last few days."

Austin struck out in all three plate appearances in Thursday's 4-3 Yankees win over the Twins, but before that, he had a .375 average and 1.169 OPS over a 10-game span, with three home runs and 13 RBIs.

"He got here because he's a talented guy," Boone said. "He had a healthy spring where he was getting consistent at-bats. I think it's just kind of his time."

Video: MIN@NYY: Andujar smashes a 110.4-mph home run

Infield in-crowd

With Drury on a rehab assignment at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, the Yankees will soon have a crowded infield. Miguel Andujar, who took over at third base when Drury went on the disabled list due to severe migraines, has 13 extra-base hits in his past ten games.

"Miguel's taken this opportunity and run with it," Boone said. "Sure, that complicates things."

Drury played third base in his first rehab game Wednesday night. Boone said the plan is to keep him at third for now.

No Ohtani for now

The Yankees won't see Shohei Ohtani on the mound during this weekend's series in Anaheim, but Boone has been watching the Angels' two-way star.

"Obviously, it's a special talent," Boone said. "I've seen some of the highlights of him on the mound. He's one of those guys that leaps off the screen, on TV, stuff-wise," Boone said. "And I've seen the power. I've actually been watching some of the games live. To be able to hit the ball on the opposite side of center field and go over the rocks there in Anaheim, that's pretty elite power."

Roster move

Right-hander David Hale, designated for assignment when the Yankees traded for A.J. Cole, was claimed off waivers by the Twins.

Danny Knobler is a contributor to MLB.com based in New York.

New York Yankees, Miguel Andujar, Tyler Austin