PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Willy Adames is the Rays' shortstop of the future. But he's willing to do whatever is necessary to break camp with the Major League club, even if it means switching positions.Second base is a spot in the infield where the jury is still out for who
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Willy Adames is the Rays' shortstop of the future. But he's willing to do whatever is necessary to break camp with the Major League club, even if it means switching positions.
Second base is a spot in the infield where the jury is still out for who is the clear favorite to win the job. Based on the fact that Adeiny Hechavarria is the starting shortstop, Adames recognizes he might need to play another position due to Hechavarria's excellence.
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"I don't mind playing second," Adames said. "Last year, I played 10 games there at Triple-A. For me, I just want to get a job. If they want me to play second base, I don't mind. I just want to get to the big leagues. At whatever position they want me to play at."
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Shortstop is generally regarded as the position that requires the most skill and athleticism. Still, changing from a position one has played one's entire life can be a difficult endeavor.
"The hardest part was the feet, you have to move your feet in the opposite way," Adames said. "And the double plays. But I think second base is easier than shortstop because it's closer to first."
Adames, 22, remains a shortstop in the eyes of the Rays, but ...
"We're going to get him at short, and I think it's a priority to view Willy as a really good shortstop," manager Kevin Cash said. "But you never know when a need can come, and we want to be able to give him the opportunity.
"He played second base last year at Durham once or twice a week after the half. By all the reports, everybody raved about him doing that. We'll get him over there a little bit. But at this camp, he'll be at shortstop a lot."
Adames knows what he has to do to get to the Major Leagues.
"I think I just have to be more consistent," Adames said. "The more consistent I am, that's the thing that's going to bring me to the big leagues. Because I think my defense is what keeps me in the Minor Leagues."
Hoping to become more consistent, especially when making the routine plays, Adames acknowledged that being around Hechavarria this spring could pay rich dividends. Cash agreed.
"We've all talked to Willy and he understands that for him to be an elite level shortstop, the consistency figures into the situation," Cash said. "But to watch it first hand with the guy you're taking ground balls with, there's probably more value with than anything we say to him."