Blue Jays will rely on second-year players Adams, Hill

By Jordan Bastian / MLB.com

現在別告訴藍鳥那些二年級生撞牆期的事,因為這一季球隊的二游搭檔就是2個二年級生
游擊手Russ Adams和二壘手Aaron Hill是整個大聯盟的先發球員中年紀最輕的之二,而他們今年將扛起球隊雙殺組合的重擔

"當他們剛來的時候,都對自己的任務處理的很好"GM J.P. Ricciardi 說道"他們的防守相當優異,而你會認為他們已經在大聯盟中打滾一輩子了"

但是他們並沒有. 兩名內野手去年都還是新人而且也都很快地適應了大聯盟的節奏
Adams是先發游擊手而Hill則在5月Koskie受傷時被升上來出任三壘手

但是25歲的Adams在他的第一個完整球季在游擊的守備上卻充滿了問題,在他的132場比賽裡失誤了26次,守備率只有0.952

Ricciardi認為Adams所發生的失誤是那種會隨著比賽經驗累積而逐漸減少的類型

"我想Russ會漸入佳境的,他的失誤大部分是傳球時所發生的,而那大多是因為大聯盟的速度較快" 他說"他的表現會越來越好的,而去年對他來說是一個很好的經驗"

在打擊上,Russ Adams也有進步的空間

去年的成績是0.256的打擊率,外加8支全壘打和63分打點. 大部分時間他是球隊的第一棒. 而今年應該也會如此, 如果是,Adams最需要提升的就是去年那0.325的上壘率,而Adams也承諾會努力改進,尤其是去年他的三振數(57)超過保送數(50)

23歲的Hill將接下在Troy Glaus 的交易中轉到響尾蛇的前美聯金手套Orlando Hudson的二壘防區的任務

Hill在5月剛被叫上至大聯盟時有一個火熱的開始,在他的前37場比賽中他的打擊率高達0.359同時也為他在Koskie從傷兵名單歸隊前在先發打線中佔據了一個位置
最終他出賽了105場,打擊率0.274,3發全壘打及40分打點,34次保送以及41次三振

以游擊手身分被選上的Hill在Koskie入隊後被球隊定位在多功能型球員,在上一季他先後以三壘手,游擊手以及DH的身分出賽過. 當Hudson在上季季末腳傷時,球隊又要求他再多練一個位置而他也在二壘防區適應良好,他最終以二壘手出賽22場,守備率是0.991

"確實Orlando的守備範圍比Aaron大,但是有許多其他的事Aaron一樣也做的很好"
Ricciardi說"他球傳得很好,臂力夠強,手很靈活,更重要的是他的腳步很好""當然他要學的還有很多,但那跟要求一名捕手去守二壘完全是兩碼子事"

"他從本身的能力中獲益良多""他會用強壯的手臂來彌補某些經驗的不足"

接著在Adams和Hill之後的是 John McDonald. 他再7月被球隊交易到底特律以換取現金之前出賽了37場,但是球隊在11月又從老虎隊將他換回

McDonald的守備相當優異,而且不論是二壘,三壘或游擊都有守備過的經驗,這名31歲的球員將會是二游防區的主要替補

除了McDonald,Ricciardi說多倫多還有一些人選可以支援這些位置:在與響尾蛇的交易中和Glaus一起來到的游擊手Sergio Santos,如果有需要的話,隨時可以上場;
另一個可能則是上一季在2A New Hampshire表現非常出色的二壘手Ryan Roberts

一但Adams受傷,Hill將移防到游擊而Mcdonald或Roberts將頂替二壘守備;這群選手確實相當年輕而且缺乏經驗,但是藍鳥隊確實在中間防線有很大的彈性

年輕的二游組合一定會碰到一些成長必經之痛,但是Adams和Hill也一定會持續的去改進,球隊正式著眼於此,他們不會在乎二年級撞牆期的

原文

Don't tell the Blue Jays about sophomore slumps. Toronto will have two second-year players front and center this season.

Shortstop Russ Adams and second baseman Aaron Hill are two of the youngest players on the big-league roster and they're going to be heavily relied on this season as the Jays' new double-play combination.

"Both [Hill] and Adams handled themselves really well when they came up," Toronto general manager J.P. Ricciardi said. "They really meshed well and you would've thought these guys had been in the big leagues their whole lives."

They haven't, though. Both infielders were rookies last season and had to adjust quickly to the Major League level. Adams became the everday shortstop and Hill was called upon to play third base when Corey Koskie broke his thumb in May.

Adams had his share of struggles in his first full season at short. The 25-year-old made 26 errors in 132 games and finished with a .952 fielding percentage.

Ricciardi feels that the types of mistakes that Adams had a tendency to make will be corrected with more experience.

"I think Russ is going to be fine. Most of his errors were throwing the ball and a lot of it was just being young and playing at the pace of the big league game," he said. "He's going to get better as he plays and last year was a good year for him to get his feet wet."

Offensively, Adams has room for improvement, too.

He hit .256 with eight home runs and 63 RBIs. Toronto used him a lot as a leadoff hitter and that will probably remain the case this year. If so, Adams will probably be looking to raise the .325 on-base percentage that he posted last season. Adams did show promise at the plate, though. He had nearly as many walks (50) as strikeouts (57).

Hill, 23, will be taking over second base for American League Gold Glove winner Orlando Hudson, who was traded to Arizona in the deal that brought Troy Glaus to Toronto.

Hill got off to a torrid start at the plate when he was called up in May. He hit .359 in his first 37 games and earned his spot on the roster when Koskie returned from the disabled list. He finished with a .274 average, three homers and 40 RBIs in 105 games. Hill posted a .342 on-base percentage and walked 34 times compared to 41 strikeouts.

Hill, who was drafted as a shortstop, was pushed into a utility role when Koskie came back. He split his time playing third base, shortstop and designated hitter. When Hudson suffered a hamstring injury late in the season, the Jays turned to Hill to learn another position and he adapted well to second base. Hill finished with a .991 fielding percentage in his 22 games at the position.

"I think Orlando has more range than Aaron, but there are a lot of things that Aaron does well, too," Ricciardi said. "He throws well, he's got a strong arm, quick hands, and his feet work well. There will be learning as he goes, but this isn't like taking a catcher and putting him at second base.

"He's got a lot of advantages going for him. Some of the things he'll lack in knowledge he will make up for with his arm strength."

Behind Adams and Hill on the depth chart is John McDonald. McDonald played 37 games with Toronto before being dealt to Detroit for cash considerations in July, but the Jays reacquired the infielder from the Tigers in November.

McDonald is good defensively and has experience playing second base, shortstop and third base. The 31-year-old will serve as the backup for both Adams and Hill.

Besides McDonald, Ricciardi said Toronto has a few in-house options if something were to happen to one of the regulars. Shortstop Sergio Santos, whom the Blue Jays received with Glaus in a trade with Arizona in December, could be called up if needed. Another possibility is second baseman Ryan Roberts, who had a good season with Double-A New Hampshire.

If Adams suffered an injury, Hill would probably move back to short and then McDonald and Roberts would be possible solutions to play second base. It's a group of mainly young and inexperienced players, but the Blue Jays do have a lot of flexibility up the middle.

There may be some growing pains for Toronto's new double-play duo, but Adams and Hill will try to improve on their successful 2005 campaigns. The Blue Jays are counting on that. Sophomore slumps won't be an option.

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