If there's one thing Eric Jagielo has learned in his first pro season, it's to listen to how his body feels day in and day out and prepare appropriately.
It felt pretty good Sunday and his bat reacted appropriately.
The Yankees' No. 3 prospect set a season high for hits in a game by going 4-for-4 with a double, two runs scored, an RBI and a a walk in Class A Advanced Tampa's 8-7 win over Daytona at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
"It's always good to rack up a couple of hits in a game, especially when you can get four," said Jagielo, who last got four hits on Aug. 18 last year with short-season Staten Island -- almost one year to the day prior to Sunday's showing. "There are times when you hit it great but balls don't fall in. So any day you can have four or five good at-bats, you're happy. If you get four or five hits, you'll definitely take it."
The left-handed-hitting third baseman began the game with a single off Cubs right-hander Juan Paniagua in the first inning.
"I think when it's a day game, you want to get that first hit out of the way," said the Yankees' No. 3 hitter. "Then you can breathe a little bit, knowing you got comfortable with the starting pitcher. We had a little scouting report, so it was good to know we were prepared and that it was working."
A big chunk of that report was about expecting a heavy dose of fastballs from Paniagua and relievers Starling Peralta and Zack Godfrey. With that info, Jagielo also walked and scored off the starter in the third, hit an RBI double and a bases empty-single off Peralta in the fourth and sixth respectively and collected another base hit off Godley in the eighth.
The four-hit performance bested his hitting output from his previous seven games, during which he had gone 3-for-20 (.150), and raised his season average from .241 to .253.
After being taken 26th overall out of Notre Dame last year, Jagielo has had a bit of a roller-coaster first season in the Yankees system. He had a .256/.339/.500 slash line with 10 homers and 31 RBIs in his first 42 games in the Florida State League before a ribcage injury kept him from Tampa for nearly two months. Since returning to the lineup, he was batting just .218 with five homers, 16 RBIs and 38 strikeouts in 30 games before Sunday's breakout performance.
But Jagielo's impressive 17-homer total and .819 OPS in only 80 Minor League contests, which includes a rehab assignment in the Gulf Coast League, are enough to keep anyone from calling this a lost season for the 22-year-old. Still, the injury is something that will remain on his mind entering the offseason.
"I think, for anybody in this game, health is going to be something you're concerned about and working to improve," he said. "That was a big part of this season, just learning how to take care of my body for a long season and analyzing how I feel day to day and going from there. It'll be something I'll definitely keep an eye on going forward."
With only a dozen games left on the Tampa regular-season schedule, Jagielo hopes Sunday will at least be a springboard to a strong finish to his first full pro season.
"I think you have to go back and look at what you've done most recently," he said. "You're only as good as your last at-bat. After today, I'm feeling pretty good, so I'll just stick to the same approach."
Cito Culver tripled, doubled and plated two one spot ahead of Jagielo in the Yankees lineup.
Cubs first-rounder Kyle Schwarber tripled, doubled and scored twice in the loss for Daytona.