First Pitch: The Professional

May, 23, 2013
5/23/13
6:00
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Like so many other young players, David Adams tried to be a student during spring training. When No. 2 walked into the clubhouse or onto the field, Adams paid attention to how the Captain went about his work. He would pick up little elements of knowledge, looking at Jeter in person or seeing a TV interview with the Yankee legend. Adams noticed Jeter's skill for just doing the right thing.

"Anytime he is asked a question he has the right response," Adams said.

What separates Jeter from many other professional athletes is that he is almost always respectful. It doesn't matter if he is interacting with fellow star athletes, the media or fans, Jeter may not always be accommodating, but he isn't rude.

Adams is following the same path.

"My motto in life is 'respect,'" Adams said.

You can see in the way Adams plays the games. Joe Girardi noted a calmness to the rookie's approach. He doesn't seem overwhelmed by the big stage.

He also plays with an intensity, running out every ball and he seems in-tune to the game. He plays like a professional.

This is all well and good, but it wouldn't mean much if Adams wasn't performing. Besides hitting his first two career homers in Baltimore, he is now batting .308.

Adams, 26, is playing at a level where it is possible he could push Kevin Youkilis and Alex Rodriguez for playing time.

That is a long ways off for several reasons. First and foremost, Youkilis and Rodriguez are not healthy. Youkilis is close to returning, while A-Rod is still projected to comeback after the All-Star Break.

When Youkilis returns, it may be hard for Adams to stay on the 25-man roster. Although he grew up a shortstop, he doesn't play it anymore so he would essentially be a backup infielder for Youkilis and Robinson Cano, which probably wouldn't work out. Jayson Nix, on the other hand, can play all three infield positions outside of first base.

But that decision doesn't have to be made yet. When it does, Adams is making it much harder.

UP NOW: Hiroki Kuroda was hurt, but it appears he will be OK.

ON DECK: An off-day for the Yankees, but Wally Matthews and I will give you your Yankee fill. I'll be writing about what happens when everyone returns -- or, at least, what I think will happen.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: What have you thought of David Adams?
Andrew Marchand is a senior writer for ESPNNewYork. He also regularly contributes to SportsCenter, Baseball Tonight, ESPNews, ESPN New York 98.7 FM and ESPN Radio. He joined ESPN in 2007 after nine years at the New York Post. Follow Andrew on Twitter »

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Masahiro Tanaka
WINS ERA SO IP
13 2.77 141 136
OTHER LEADERS
BAJ. Ellsbury .271
HRB. McCann 23
RBIB. McCann 75
RB. Gardner 87
OPSB. Gardner .749
ERAH. Kuroda 3.71
SOH. Kuroda 146