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BASEBALL

Auburn's Tim Locastro begins busy offseason, reflects on time with Yankees

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Yankees Orioles Baseball

New York Yankees' Tim Locastro in action during a game against the Orioles July 22 in Baltimore.

Free agency. A wedding. Workouts. 

Tim Locastro has a lot on his plate over the next few months. 

It's a much different offseason for the Auburn native than the last one. He tore his anterior cruciate ligament in July 2021, so much of last offseason was spent rehabbing his knee. Major League Baseball also locked out the players, which meant that Locastro could not sign with a team for three months. 

This year, he does not have to contend with those issues. His knee is in great shape — he told The Citizen that he felt 100% by midsummer — and there is no labor strife. 

Locastro's goal after re-signing with the Yankees before the 2022 season was to win a World Series title. He embraced whatever role he was asked to fulfill. The Yankees used him as a pinch-runner — he had eight stolen bases and scored 13 runs in 38 games. He started 10 games as an outfielder and hit a pair of home runs. 

The Yankees won the American League East title and was a contender to win the AL pennant. Locastro was named to the Yankees' playoff roster. He stole a base in the American League Division Series against the Cleveland Guardians. He was also on the roster for the American League Championship Series, which the Yankees lost to the Houston Astros, the eventual World Series champions. 

Locastro observed differences between playoff baseball and the regular season, namely the fan engagement and media presence. But, he said, the most important thing he learned is that once you are on the field, "baseball is baseball." 

"It's the same as it is during the regular season — being able to control yourself, control your breathing and lock in and understand that it's still the same game you've been playing since you were a child," Locastro said. 

He added, "It was definitely an unbelievable experience, especially playing at home in front of the Yankee fans against Cleveland and then going to Cleveland, going to Houston. Those were some experiences that you can play out in your head but you don't understand the true ramifications of it until you are in the moment." 

Now, Locastro is on the market. The Yankees wanted to send him to Triple-A and remove him from the parent club's 40-man roster. He elected to become a free agent. 

He acknowledged that finding a team where he can get more playing time "would be great." He is appreciative of his time with the Yankees and willingly served as the team's go-to pinch-runner, but adds that he doesn't want to limit himself to one role if there is an opportunity to play elsewhere. 

He is taking a patient approach with free agency. One reason for that is he has a wedding to plan. He and his fiancee, Jenn Fox, will get married in January. 

When Locastro isn't preparing for the wedding, he will be working out to get ready for next season. He will monitor MLB depth charts to see which teams may need his services and is hoping to sign with a team by mid-January — about a month before spring training begins. 

"Last year with the lockout, the free agency process was different than it is (this year)," said Locastro, who recalled that he re-signed with the Yankees and then had to quickly head to spring training. "Now, you can take your time and try to figure out where you want to go. It will still be stressful but a little less stressful than last year." 

Politics reporter Robert Harding can be reached at (315) 664-4631 or robert.harding@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @robertharding.

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Online producer and politics reporter

I have been The Citizen's online producer and politics reporter since December 2009. I'm the author of the Eye on NY blog and write the weekly Eye on NY column that appears every Sunday in the print edition of The Citizen and online at auburnpub.com.

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