Adams trying to fix defensive reputation

SARASOTA, Fla. - Just a reminder that the clubhouse is closed to the media this morning while the Orioles conduct physicals, and dental and vision exams. They’re expected to take the field around noon for the first full-squad workout.

Perhaps Vladimir Guerrero will step into the cage and take batting practice in full view of his teammates, fans and the media. And I can provide the latest facial-hair update. No day is complete without one.

Ryan Adams, the Orioles’ second-round pick in 2006, is in camp after being left unprotected in the Rule 5 Draft. He hit .298 with 15 homers and 68 RBIs at Double-A Bowie. He set a Baysox single-season record for doubles with 43 and led the club in hits with 158. He also made the Eastern League’s postseason All-Star team.

So, why didn’t he get claimed in the Rule 5?

The common perception is that Adams’ defensive shortcomings are holding him back. The Orioles like his bat, but they’re not sure where to play him. He was primarily a second baseman at Bowie, but moved to third when Tyler Henson was injured. Adams played third in the Arizona Fall League, where he batted .265 with 14 RBIs in 19 games.

Adams will take ground balls at second and third this spring and also could shag some fly balls in left field.

“I’m willing to go wherever they put me,” he said. “I think I’ll be playing a lot of second. I was a shortstop growing up, so I’ve played pretty much every position.”

Adams needs to silence the critics who say he can’t play any of them well. He broke Juan Samuel’s record for most errors by a second baseman in the South Atlantic League in 2008, causing some folks to overlook his .308 average. The reviews of his defense at third in the AFL weren’t especially favorable. But he can swing the lumber.

“That’s what has caused problems,” he said. “I keep hearing, ‘You can hit, but you’ve got to put the defense together.’ So, when you do make an error out there, you’re hard on yourself because you’re trying to show them. But I’ve just got to go out there and play and work hard, and good things will happen.

“Last year, I really got comfortable out there and I started to feel the pressure come off my back a little bit, and that’s really all I needed.”

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