Q&A with Austin Kearns
Outfielder Austin Kearns never played on a winning big-league team until the Indians traded him to the Yankees last July. Kearns, a reserve for New York, is a series away from going to the World Series.
MLB.com caught up with Kearns before the start of the American League Championship Series to talk about his time with the Yankees, Indians and Nationals.
MLB.com: What was your reaction when the Indians traded you to the Yankees?
Austin Kearns: I was excited, obviously. I wasn’t expecting anything. You get a chance to play in the postseason for a World Series [ring]. That’s what it is all about.
MLB.com: Is playing for the Yankees what you expected?
Kearns: It has been pretty much what I expected. There are a lot of good people and workers. They take care of their business. They have fun, but they come and get their work done. It has been fun to be here.
MLB.com: Before the trade, you were never on a winning team in the big leagues. What adjustments did you have to make when you became a member of the Yankees?
Kearns: … You come here and you are expected to win, so that is the mindset that you have. You go out there and you expect for good things to happen.
MLB.com: You got off to a great start for the Yankees and you tailed off a little bit toward the end. What happened?
Kearns: It’s part of the game. I scuffled a little bit. I’m banged up a little bit. It’s part of it.
MLB.com: What are you expecting the rest of the way against Texas?
Kearns: It’s going to be a dog fight, no matter who you play from here on out. Texas is a good ballclub. They played well [this season]. So I’m expecting some good baseball.
MLB.com: With you on a winning team, do you think about what Ryan Zimmerman and Adam Dunn are going through with the Nationals?
Kearns: I know how much those guys want to win and how much they deserve to get that chance. I’m sure they will be part of a winner sooner rather than later. Those guys have put in the work. They definitely deserve to a shot to be in the postseason.
MLB.com: Overall, you had a your best season since 2006. What was the difference between this year and the previous three years with the Nationals.
Kearns: Health was a big part of it. The guys in Cleveland did a good job keeping out there on the field. I had a lot of problems with my hand — my thumb. So they helped me out with a pad to wear. I’ve went through a million things to try to help the thump. So they finally found something that works. That definitely helped. I think that is the biggest thing.
MLB.com: What does the future holds for Austin Kearns?
Kearns: I want to play and hopefully get a chance to be on a team where you get another chance to be in the postseason. We’ll see where it goes.
MLB.com: Do you want to stay with the Yankees?
Kearns: I would love to stay. It doesn’t get any better than playing with these guys.