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Justin Atkinson Finding Success with New Approach

Canadian infield enjoying success in Lansing

Justin Atkinson Finding Success with New Approach

May 2, 2014

Justin Atkinson

Atkinson is swinging a hot bat in Lansing to start the 2014 season (Eva Crawford / JaysProspects)

Canadian infielder Justin Atkinson is swinging one of the hottest bats in the Lansing Lugnuts lineup. The emergence is partly due to a new approach implemented by hitting coach Ken Huckaby who saw room for improvement with Atkinson’s plate technique.

“Justin Atkinson is doing much better at the plate,” statd Huckaby. “I made a few little tweaks in his approach and it’s starting to pay off. It’s great to see.”

Currently batting .322 with three doubles and six RBIs, Atkinson has shown excellent plate discipline taking six walks and sporting a .385 on base percentage.

The great start to the season included a 5-for-5 night at Dayton on April 29th. It’s safe to say, the new approach is working and Atkinson has enjoyed all the coaching he’s received from Huckaby.

“Ken is awesome,” explained Atkinson. “He really understands what you’re going through. He’s played the game himself. Ken is always there to help. He breaks everything down as a hitter, fielder, and base runner. He jokes around with you and makes the game fun.”

Atkinson is enjoying Lansing, especially how the weather reminds him of his home town.

“I like the weather in Lansing. It’s similar to Vancouver,” stated Atkinson. “We enjoy the fans coming out to support us. It’s a college town, so there’s a lot of sports fans here. I haven’t seen a lot of the town yet, but I’ve liked what I’ve seen so far.”

Spending his 2013 season in his home province as a member of the Vancouver Canadians, Atkinson enjoyed the opportunity to play close to home. Atkinson batted .230 with nine doubles, a triple, a home run, and 24 RBIs in the Northwest League.

“Playing in Vancouver was awesome,” Atkinson said. “The great part of playing there was I had family and friends there every night. It was great, because I could live at home. It’s a great city with great fans. I really enjoyed it.”

The support he received from family and friends in Vancouver made his Northwest League championship even more special.

“The celebration was really cool for me with family and friends there,” Atkinson said with a smile. “Obviously all the guys loved it. The city was behind us the whole way. We got the win and it felt like the city won, not just us.”

Joining the Blue Jays organization in the 26th round of the 2011 MLB draft, it was a special moment for Atkinson who grew up a Blue Jays fan his whole life.

“It was exciting being drafted by Toronto, especially being from Canada,” stated Atkinson. “It was one of the most special moments of my life. It was one of my goals achieved. Getting the call was really special.”

“I was a Blue Jays fan my whole life,” explained Atkinson. “The only games we get in Canada are Toronto, so I pretty much just watched them my whole life.”

Prior to the draft, Atkinson enjoyed his time with Team Canada and is very thankful for all the help and development the organization gave to him through his experience in the World Juniors tournament.

“Playing for Team Canada was awesome,” explained Atkinson. “I was teammates with Tom Robson. We played together at the World Juniors in Thunder Bay. It was an awesome experience playing with guys across the country. The program helped me a lot growing up and playing against professional guys at a young age. That program always helped me a lot. I’m very thankful for that.”