When the Yankees chose to protect five eligible players from the Rule 5 draft last month, the most unusual choice was second baseman David Adams. It wasn’t necessarily a bad choice — Adams has a potent bat, and it’s not out of the question he could stick on a big league roster or be hidden on a 60-day disabled list — but it was unusual because Adams hasn’t played anything close to a full season since 2009.
The Yankees, though, believe in his ability to hit — especially for a second baseman — and they’re hopeful that a lingering ankle injury will finally go away so Adams can get back on track and keep taking steps toward the big leagues.
“He’s still rehabbing,” Mark Newman said earlier today. “We’ll see how it goes. We’re hopeful. He works his rear end off. He’s a fabulous guy, and he’s got ability.”
Newman admitted that he couldn’t remember a player in Adams’ situation being protected, but the Yankees didn’t want to risk losing the former third-round draft pick.
Drafted out of the University of Virginia in 2008, Adams opened in Double-A less than two years later. He was hitting .309/.393/.507 through 39 games in 2010 — putting up numbers hard to ignore from a second baseman — when a ankle injury sent him to the disabled list. Initially labeled a sprain, later tests finally revealed a broken bone, at which point Adams had to shut down everything.
He played only 29 games last season, none past early August, and right now he’s rehabbing down in southern Florida. At this point, it’s mostly about building strength, Newman said. The injury actually bothers Adams more when he runs straight ahead, not so much side-to-side. It’s been a long process, but Adams is scheduled to show up in Tampa for early spring training work in mid-January.
“I’ve never heard of someboby losing their career because of this,” Newman said.
By protecting him on the 40-man, the Yankees made sure they wouldn’t lose the player either.