Catching up with Adam Jones

InsidethePark's Dan Larson caught up with Adam Jones, the Mariners first draft pick in 2003, to get a better idea about how his first full season as a pro has gone. Don't miss what the 18-year-old had to say about the difficult task of being a team leader as a teenager, the pressure of being a No. 1 pick, and the Timber Rattlers up-and-down season.

InsidethePark.com: The team is not doing as well this season, at least in terms of wins and losses, as I'm sure you would have liked. How has that affected your attitude and approach to the game this season?

Adam Jones: I try to keep it the same. Sometimes you take off some pitches, take off some plays, take off some games, but we had a discussion today, a closed door meeting. We're going to come out here and be a different team.

ITP.com: What has been the most frustrating part of this season?

AJ: Overall, the team. We have good talent but we're just not putting it all together. Individual wise, I know I haven't played as well as I should, but overall it's a team effort. You win and lose as a team, and that's been the most frustrating thing.

ITP.com: What has been the most enjoyable part of this season?

AJ: Coming to the ballpark everyday and forgetting about the previous days. If we lose, the next day we're all at the ballpark ready to play again.

ITP.com: Talk about the pressure that goes along with being a number one overall pick by an organization?

AJ: At the beginning of the year I felt it a little bit because we played a lot of games at home and I was trying to impress the fans. On the road I played good and towards the middle part (of the season) I just didn't care. Lately I haven't been hitting good, so I'm like ‘I've got to do more,' but I'm not putting any pressure on myself.

ITP.com: With this being your first full season of professional baseball, what goals did you set for yourself coming in?

AJ: At least hit about .280 or .300. At the most hit 10 bombs. Get about 70 RBI and 20 stolen bases.

ITP.com: Talk about how you feel you have done in achieving those goals?

AJ: All right in some cases. RBI I'm close. I could get more stolen bases. I'm not really trying to hit home runs. I'm just trying to put the ball in play. Average I'm going down. I was at .270, but I got in a little funk. It's going to be a real battle, but I'm going to try and get it up to .280 as hard as I can.

ITP.com: You are currently third on the team in RBI with 44. How do you alter your approach at the plate, if at all, with runners in scoring position?

AJ: With runners on second and third I more try to just put the ball in play. If I have a runner on first I try and drive the ball. I try and get a pitch to drive. Lately, I've been getting a pitch to drive but just hitting it straight into the ground.

ITP.com: You were drafted as a shortstop and a pitcher, but you are playing shortstop right now. Which position do you prefer and why?

AJ: I really don't like pitching. I never really did. I just did it to help out my high school team. They saw something I guess, but they asked me what I wanted to do and I told them I wanted to play shortstop. I couldn't be a pitcher because I like to play everyday.

ITP.com: As a shortstop, what do you feel is the most difficult part of the position?

AJ: It was being a team leader on the field, because I'm the youngest everyday player. All the other position players are 20 or 21 and older. It was hard to come in and be like ‘Let's go, let's go,' because they've been here before, but I feel throughout the year I've gotten better and better at it.

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