Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Young Adam Jones Presses for Callup to Mariners

Mariners outfield prospect Adam Jones continues to make his case for a callup to Seattle, going 5 for 5 with a triple and double in his most recent appearance for Triple A Tacoma, a 12-6 drubbing of Salt Lake.

Jones now has raised his season's average to .314 with 23 homers, six triples and 26 doubles. Jones' torrid pace comes as the expectation of his summoning to the majors reaches a virtual crescendo, as the 21-year-old phenom was expected to have been called up nearly a week ago.

But the team remains in something of a flux as the front office strives for a playoff bid, with right fielder Jose Guillen refusing to sign an option to stay with the team without an extension, first baseman Richie Sexson in a season-long funk and the subject of trade rumors earlier this year, and designated hitter Jose Vidro likely balking at the prospect of less playing time to make room for Jones.

One or more of these issues may require resolution before Jones can be elevated.

The team had been expected to rest Vidro to make sure the oft-injured designated hitter would be healthy through the end of the season. That would have allowed Jones to take the majority of time in left field, and left fielder Raul Ibanez to move to DH and rest his troublesome hamstring.

Vidro has flirted with a .300 batting average all season, but has only two homers and less than two dozen RBI. With such little power, his switch hitting ability might be more valuable coming off the bench in key situations, but Vidro cannot be expected to see it that way. He has batted 10 for 21 since rumors surfaced regarding his change of status, hardly an invitation to management to sit him on the pine.

Perhaps at-bats could be found for Vidro at second base, his natural position. But the whole idea of moving him to DH in the first place was to spare wear and tear on his body, a concept to which Vidro supposedly had been amenable.