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Adams Hopes to Stay Healthy, Return to Form in 2012



By Jed Weisberger ~ April 4th, 2012. Filed under: Digest Contributors, Yanks Minors.

TRENTON, N.J – Back in 2010, David Adams’ career was on the fast track. Grabbed by the Yankees in the third round of the 2008 draft out of the University of Virginia, the 6-foot-1, 202-pound second baseman was turning heads.

In the field, he played 39 games without an error, helping complete 24 double plays. At-bat, he hit .309 (47-for-152) and registered 32 RBIs. He was on the verge of an All-Star season.

Thunder manager Tony Franklin, back for his sixth season handling the Yankees’ Double-A farm team, takes it a step further.

“No doubt David was on his way to the big leagues,’’ said Franklin.

Then, on May 22nd of that 2010 season, in a game vs. the Portland Sea Dogs in Hadlock Field, Adams sustained what was first thought of as a high right-ankle sprain.  It was figured he would miss a few weeks, maybe a month – but he wound up missing a year-and-a-half.

Since that May 22, Adams has played in just 29 games – 17 in the Gulf Coast League and 11 with Class-A Advanced Tampa. What do fans remember him for? He’s the guy Seattle didn’t want – due to his injury – in the proposed Cliff Lee trade that also included Jesus Montero and pitcher Zach McAllister, later dealt to Cleveland for outfielder Austin Kearns.

As it turned out, Adams had a broken bone in his right foot where it meets the ankle. The trade to Seattle was off and Adams was off the field.

“I know, I’m the guy they remember from that (Cliff Lee) trade and the injury,’’ said the 24-year-old – he will be 25 May 15 – Tuesday at the Thunder’s Media day at Waterfront Park. “That’s all behind me now. I feel good. I’m ready to go.

“To not be out there was frustrating. Now all I want to do is play well, contribute and help us win.’’

A major Thunder weakness last season was middle-infield play.  Errors in that area are part of the reason Franklin’s team – 48-33 July 2 – was just 20-40 the rest of the way and finished 68-73, out of the Eastern League Playoffs for only the second time since 2005.

“I didn’t really pay much attention to statistics last year, obviously, more toward getting my foot back in shape. My goal this season is to stay healthy.

“I’d like to play all 142 games, but I know we’ll start with a progression to see how things go. I’m confident I’ll be fine.’’

Franklin his anxious to see how Adams, who looked strong in spring training, re-adapts to playing every day, pivoting on the double play and flashing that plus-plus glove.

“The thing is he hasn’t played in a year-and-a-half,’’ said Franklin. “He says he’s ready to go. The doctors say he’s ready to go. If he’s back to where he was in 2010, we’ve got a good prospect again. We’ll likely be cautious in the beginning.’’

Adams is certainly looking ahead, not back. He’s had enough talk and frustration from the injury. He knows he can erase all that with a strong Double-A season.

“That’s what I’m looking for,’’ he said.

In other pastures on the Yankees’ farm:

CLASS AAA – EMPIRE STATE YANKEES

A player to watch is outfielder Ray Kruml, who had a superb season at Trenton in 2011, batting .290 (131-for-452) with 37 stolen bases.  While former big-leaguer Jack Cust will likely be the DH, the outfield situation with this team, which will play home games in spots such as Rochester, Lehigh Valley and Batavia due to stadium re-construction in Moosic, Pa., will be crowded.

CLASS A ADVANCED -TAMPA

The man on the spot is former top pick Slade Heathcott, who has had shoulder issues – and two surgeries – and hopes to get back on the field sometime in May. He’s played in just 132 games, none above Class-A Charleston, since signing in 2009.

CLASS A – CHARLESTON

High hopes abound for both third baseman Dante Bichette Jr. and outfielder Mason Williams, named the top prospect in the New York-Penn League at Staten Island in 2011. Unfortunately, this is one of the seasons I which the RiverDogs do not visit the Lakewood BlueClaws. The furthest Charleston comes north this season is Charleston, W.Va. (May 10-13 and Aug, 20-22).

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Jed spent 35 years in the newspaper business working as both a writer and editor, in both sports and news under tight deadline pressure. As both sports editor at the Indiana (Pa.) Gazette and a copy editor/columnist at The Times of Trenton, he made daily decisions on overall coverage and designed and produced thousands of pages and special sections. Since accepting a buyout from The Times, he has concentrated on broadening his writing and editing horizons to the medical, academic and business fields. Anyone is welcome to Google Jed to see the different places in print, on the Web and in front of the camera his professional expertise has spread to.

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1 Response to Adams Hopes to Stay Healthy, Return to Form in 2012

  1. Raul

    Good highlights, Jed.

    Certainly an interesting group of kids to keep an eye on as the season progresses — especially Heathcott, since I think a lot of people were hoping would be a long-term solution at CF for the Yankees.

    Thanks.

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