Rodriguez Looking At Next Steps

Rodriguez is showing his power early in 2011

SAVANNAH, GA - Aderlin Rodriguez was the Mets' notable international free agent signing in 2008, but it wasn't until a big season with Kingsport last year that the third baseman truly emerged. Now, Rodriguez is focused on enhancing both parts of his game at the plate and in the field. How does Rodriguez feel about his season so far? Look inside to find out.

Aderlin Rodriguez, a 19-year-old third baseman who has erupted around Mets' prospect circles, made his way to Savannah, starting with the Mets Gulf Coast League in 2009. Now, following two years in short-season ball, Rodriguez is adjusting to his first full season.

Though he did not get off to the start he wanted in the 2011 season, at least with his .197 batting average, Rodriguez is feeling very confident about the next five months.

"The way that I'm thinking about my start," Rodriguez explained, through bench coach Jose Carreno who translated. "Is that this is a long season. I can make adjustments. It's really not about how you start, its about how you feel and what happens from there."

The past is decidedly behind Rodriguez, who hit a .200 last year in his limited stint with Savannah last season.. Prior to that, he hit .312 over 61 games with the Kingsport, which propelled him into 2011.

"My mentality at the plate is in the now," Rodriguez said. "I'm focused on improving this season, and hopes for the big leagues, but I'm always taking it a game at a time."

Rodriguez sees that his hard work is paying off, with more and more contact with a ball. Though his average this year is currently below .200, he leads the team with 20 RBI, to go with five home runs, and feels that his swing has improved.

"It's been a huge confidence boost. I started hitting and getting contact with the ball. In this way, through better contact with the ball and an improvement of skills. I'll get a homer or a double every now and then, but just making that contact has been very crucial for me in building my confidence."

But its not just batting that Rodriguez wants to see improvement in. Defensively, he has given up a few errors in his time.

"My main focus is working on my follow through," he explained. "Getting the ball where it's suppose to go. In the end, I just want to do good, finish strong, and not worry about the season or the future. You have to make adjustments all day long. No matter where you are in the game. And I take it a game at a time."

Taking it a game at a time has been tough for the Sand Gnats though, who faced a five game drought against the Delmarva Shorebirds. However, Rodriguez feels that the losses were a good learning experience.

"One the things that I learned is that the game isn't over until the last out," Rodriguez recalled. "You have to keep in mind that you can always get in three or four runs in one inning, even late in the game."

Rodriguez remained unfazed by the team's difficult away. Back at home, things went better against the Rome Braves, winning two of the four home games.

"In the end, it doesn't make a difference," he said confidently. "It's about doing what you have to do, playing one hundred percent. I don't try to keep shortcomings in my mind because the game is the same wherever you go."

With a nod of optimism, Rodriguez concluded. "The way I'm thinking about it is that this is a long season. I can make adjustments. It's not about how you start, its about how you feel and what happens from there."

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