Linares Doing It All

PORTLAND, ME - Where you've been, where you're going to be, those two aren't as important to Sea Dogs OF Juan Carlos Linares judging from his play early on in this 2012 campaign. All that matters is where he's at. The 2011 call-up to AAA Pawtucket has led AA Portland in batting average (.356), home runs (4), RBI's (13), total bases (41), multi-hit games (8), and walks (11) in 21 games thus far.

"I'm just focusing on playing here, whatever decision is made at the top is theirs to make. Just going to focus on what I can control which is playing hard," Linares said.

An ankle injury he sustained while sliding into second base last year seemed to be the main reason in demoting him to Portland. It certainly wasn't his healthy performance that hindered him. He missed one game with a thigh bruise but the ankle has not been a problem.

Hitting coach Dave Joppie will be the first to tell you that the move down has had no effect on his drive to be the best player he can be.

"There has been no lull in his attitude," Joppie said, "his work ethic and his drive. We've been more than happy with what he brings to the table.

"It would have been easy for him to be somewhat disappointed I having to come back to Double-A because of the outfield situation at the upper levels that he can't control and neither can we. It wouldn't have mattered if he was put in Greenville or Salem or here, he was going to go out and play hard and just play the game. That's how he's wired."

The majority of his starts defensively have come at center field but he has also spent four games in left and three in right.

"He's a guy that it doesn't matter where you put him in the lineup or where you put him defensively, he's going to go out and play hard for nine innings," Joppie added. "He's going to give you everything he's got."

There were a few adjustments made to his swing and those mechanical changes have only added to his success.

"He would have a tendency to get heavy over the front side and muscle up and pull a lot of baseballs," Joppie said. "He's done a lot of work in staying over the zone and staying on line with the front side and staying more directional. In turn that's helped him with his pitch recognition and his ability to drive the baseball, especially to right-center.

"He's not pulling off and flying open like what I had seen him do in the past. A lot of that just had to do with effort level and trying too hard. He's learned that he's got some natural strength and a gift with his swing and he doesn't need to muscle up to do what he does."

He's gotten himself into a productive groove here. Manager Kevin Boles has also noticed Linares' professionalism.

"He's done everything right," Boles said," hard worker, great in the clubhouse. His performance on the field, strike zone management has been great. He's been ready to hit from pitch one."

"We started him off at leadoff and now he's adjusted to batting third and cleanup, being in the middle of our line-up. He's got versatility."

There has been a lot of competition in the outfield in the upper levels.

"What we're trying to do here is put him in a situation to succeed so he can get promoted to Triple-A," Joppie said. "Everything we're doing is in his best interest."

The season is still quite young but it's never too early to be successful. Knowing the business of the league, Joppie concluded, "It's great to see him get off to a solid start. I hope he's not here long, let's put it that way."


Diehard Magazine Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\n\"I'm just focusing on playing here, whatever decision is made at the top is theirs to make. Just going to focus on what I can control which is playing hard,\" Linares said.
\r\n
\r\nAn ankle injury he sustained while sliding into second base last year seemed to be the main reason in demoting him to Portland. It certainly wasn't his healthy performance that hindered him. He missed one game with a thigh bruise but the ankle has not been a problem.
\r\n
\r\nHitting coach Dave Joppie will be the first to tell you that the move down has had no effect on his drive to be the best player he can be.
\r\n
\r\n\"There has been no lull in his attitude,\" Joppie said, \"his work ethic and his drive. We've been more than happy with what he brings to the table.
\r\n
\r\n\"It would have been easy for him to be somewhat disappointed I having to come back to Double-A because of the outfield situation at the upper levels that he can't control and neither can we. It wouldn't have mattered if he was put in Greenville or Salem or here, he was going to go out and play hard and just play the game. That's how he's wired.\"
\r\n
\r\nThe majority of his starts defensively have come at center field but he has also spent four games in left and three in right.
\r\n
\r\n\"He's a guy that it doesn't matter where you put him in the lineup or where you put him defensively, he's going to go out and play hard for nine innings,\" Joppie added. \"He's going to give you everything he's got.\"
\r\n
\r\nThere were a few adjustments made to his swing and those mechanical changes have only added to his success.
\r\n
\r\n\"He would have a tendency to get heavy over the front side and muscle up and pull a lot of baseballs,\" Joppie said. \"He's done a lot of work in staying over the zone and staying on line with the front side and staying more directional. In turn that's helped him with his pitch recognition and his ability to drive the baseball, especially to right-center.
\r\n
\r\n\"He's not pulling off and flying open like what I had seen him do in the past. A lot of that just had to do with effort level and trying too hard. He's learned that he's got some natural strength and a gift with his swing and he doesn't need to muscle up to do what he does.\"
\r\n
\r\nHe's gotten himself into a productive groove here. Manager Kevin Boles has also noticed Linares' professionalism.
\r\n
\r\n\"He's done everything right,\" Boles said,\" hard worker, great in the clubhouse. His performance on the field, strike zone management has been great. He's been ready to hit from pitch one.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"We started him off at leadoff and now he's adjusted to batting third and cleanup, being in the middle of our line-up. He's got versatility.\"
\r\n
\r\nThere has been a lot of competition in the outfield in the upper levels.
\r\n
\r\n\"What we're trying to do here is put him in a situation to succeed so he can get promoted to Triple-A,\" Joppie said. \"Everything we're doing is in his best interest.\"
\r\n
\r\nThe season is still quite young but it's never too early to be successful. Knowing the business of the league, Joppie concluded, \"It's great to see him get off to a solid start. I hope he's not here long, let's put it that way.\"
\r\n
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