As I mentioned in my first post, we have played against many major leaguers in extended, but it wasn’t until the last two weeks that some of the A’s big leaguers were here rehabbing and playing in games with us. Andrew Bailey, our closer, former rookie of the year and all-star selection, threw in two games and looked very good. You never hope to spend time with a major leaguer in extended because that means they are injured, but I’ve also been fortunate enough to get to know Adam Rosales. I can’t say enough good things about “Rosie” as we started calling him. Although he has been a big leaguer since ’08 he was totally down to earth and took an interest in the younger players in extended. He was only here for 8-10 days, and he still learned everyone’s name and was cheering on guys during the games. He set a great example, always hustling on and off the field, and playing the game like it’s supposed to be played, while keeping the mood light and having fun. I have the utmost respect for Rosie and the kind of guy that he is, and I wish him all the luck in the future.
I got to spend a lot of time with Rosie while he was here because he is an infielder, so he told me about his journey to the big leagues. I figured I would share with everyone about his road to the show and some advice that he gave me. He played four years of college baseball at Western Michigan before getting drafted in the 12th round of the 2005 draft by the Reds. From there he worked his way through the Reds system and made his major league debut on August 9, 2008. On February 1, 2010 he was traded to the A’s,and batted .271 with 7 HR and 31 RBI as a utility infielder. He came up as a shortstop, but has played all four infield spots, which adds to his value as a player.
I asked Rosie what adjustments he made as he moved up the minor league ranks and into the major leagues. From the offensive side, he said he really focused on zoning the ball in a certain area and only swinging if the pitch was where he was looking. He talked about how big league pitchers can locate on the corners of the plate effectively, but no one hits those pitches for a high average, so he really focuses on the pitches down the heart of the plate. And the big difference, he mentioned, is that you usually only get one or two good pitches to hit in an at bat, and sometimes not even that. I also asked him about defense, to which he said he tries to slow the game down. He reminded me on a few occasions not to rush and that most ground balls you have more time than you think to record the out. More than anything, I watched how Rosie approached the game — always early, putting in time in the weight room and training room to get his body feeling right, and playing the game with energy.
I also have to give a big mention to my alma mater, the JMU Dukes baseball team won the CAA regular season and conference tournament championship. They are the No. 3 seed in the Chapel Hill regional which starts this Friday. Good luck guys!