O's excited by infielder

The Baltimore Sun

A nagging hamstring injury and travel complications caused by Hurricane Katrina may have pushed New Orleans high school infielder Ryan Adams into the second round of the 2006 amateur draft. But Joe Jordan isn't complaining.

Jordan, the Orioles' director of scouting, said he was excited when Adams was available with the 58th overall pick.

"We definitely had him rated slightly above where he went," he said.

Jordan saw the 6-foot, 185-pound player in several high school showcases. And the club's regional scout for Louisiana, Mike Tullier, had been following Adams' career for years.

"He's a good athlete, a competitive kid and good worker with good habits," said Tullier, who signed outfielder David Dellucci and catcher Eli Whiteside among others for the Orioles. "He loves to play the game, and when you see a guy like that on the field, he stands out."

The Orioles were concerned they wouldn't be able to sign Adams. He was expecting to go higher, and make more than the $600,000 slotted for a mid-second-round pick. And he had a full scholarship waiting at LSU.

But Jordan said he got the OK from management to go higher than slot for Adams, and the two sides agreed on $675,000.

Now the question is where will he play? Adams was a shortstop in high school. He has the arm for third base but offensive skills like a second baseman.

"He is going to play on the dirt," Jordan said. "We didn't get hung up on where he'll play because we liked the bat so much."

In 34 games at Rookie-level Bluefield, Adams, 19, hit .256 with two homers and eight doubles. He was promoted to short-season Single-A Aberdeen last week.

"I've learned so many things being [in Bluefield]," Adams said. "I have a better understanding going into next year of what I have to do to prepare. I'm definitely glad I signed."

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