Fox refining approach in Nicaragua

Infielder Adam Fox has spent his offseason playing in the Nicaraguan Winter League. The 26-year-old was recently named to the All-Star team after batting .260 with a .406 on-base percentage in his first 100 at-bats. Lone Star Dugout was able to interview the former Ohio University standout.

Following a solid season between Double-A Frisco and Triple-A Oklahoma in 2007, infielder Adam Fox elected to play for the Tigres del Chinandega of the Nicaraguan Winter League. Fox has logged 100 at-bats with the team – which is owned by Rangers pitcher Vicente Padilla – and is currently batting .260 with six doubles, one triple, one home run, and 18 runs batted in. Though he walked just 24 times in 352 at-bats during the 2007 regular season, he has drawn a league-leading 21 free passes with the Tigres. Fox was recently named as a starting third baseman in the league's All-Star Game, which will be played on Sunday.

Lone Star Dugout was recently able to interview the 26-year-old via e-mail. Fox discussed his performance in Nicaragua, his current focus at the plate, and his plans for the remainder of the offseason.

Jason Cole: How did you end up getting to play winterball in Nicaragua?

Adam Fox: Being teammates with Vicente Padilla in the Texas League this year was how I got the chance to play down here. He was looking for an infielder and asked if I would be interested. I then received a call from Chinandega's GM with the information about the league. I researched the league and the country a little bit and decided it would be beneficial to come down here and get some at bats and work on a few things.

Cole: What is the level of play like there? Would you say it compares to a certain minor league level?

Fox: Many players here have played organized ball in the states with a MLB organization. The native players are very good, and it shows by how comfortable they seem when they play here. I would say that each team has about four native position players that all do pretty well. There are players from Cuba, Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico as well. I believe it is between a Double-A and Triple-A level of play. Some things here would never fly in the United States though.

Cole: Has it helped to have a teammate like Kevin Mahar out there with you?

Fox: It was nice to have Kevin here for the short time he was able to play. He had a minor leg injury that set him back so he decided it was best to go home and get that healed before this year's spring training. We have four Americans on the team right now and a few other Latin players that I have played against in the States. We are treated very well here, which makes everything a little easier.

Cole: What are your thoughts on your performance so far?

Fox: I have played pretty well so far. I know I can play well here and finish with some good numbers. I just need to stay consistent. I made the All-Star team as a starter so I am proud of that. We are struggling as a team and when you struggle as a group it is hard to get yourself going sometimes. I have hit well with men on base and have been able to be a table setter at times. It is a hard place to hit because there are no batters eyes in center field and lights are pretty dim. It is all about winning down here and performing. I am trying to stay as positive as I can and play as hard as I can to help the team.

Cole: What have you been working on at the plate?

Fox: I came here with the idea of having a more advanced approach at the plate. I wanted to work on really shrinking the zone. In some instances it has really helped me out. I have been able to see a lot more pitches per at bat and my on base percentage is very good right now. My average has dipped somewhat in the past few weeks, but I am still staying with my approach and believe in it.

Cole: What positions do they have you playing there?

Fox: I have played mostly third. It looks like am going to play second base the second half of the season. I may play a few games in right field as well. There are about four or five players that can play multiple positions, so we may mix it up now and again.

Cole: How do the coaches differ between the U.S. and Nicaragua? Are there different philosophies; is it more or less relaxed, etc.?

Fox: The coaches are all hard working and passionate about the game. The philosophies are a lot different. Every team bunts early in the game, even when they have a lead. The big innings are kept to a minimum it seems. They always play for one run. 2-0 and 3-1 takes are very common as well. Our coaching staff has gone through some changes since the beginning of the season. It is definitely a more relaxed atmosphere as well. We show up, take ground balls and hit some BP then go play. We play five games a week and two days off.

Cole: What are you going to do to prepare for the 2008 season once you get back to the States?

Fox: When I get back to the states I am going to go for a long walk on my farm and do some Whitetail deer scouting. I definitely miss the winter in Pennsylvania, so I am going to take a few weeks to relax and let my mind relax. I am going to take my son Gunnar for some rides on the Quad and just hang out with him and my wife Kristy. I will have a few more weeks to prepare for spring training and be ready to go. I have been able to stay in pretty good shape down here.

Cole: Do you have any idea what the Rangers' plans are for you for 2008?

Fox: I do not know what the Rangers have in store for me. I would love to have a starting job with the Triple-A or Double-A club. I will find out in spring training!

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