Madison, WI – February 24, 2009. A year removed from breaking his jaw after taking a fastball to the face last spring, the Mallards newest signed player, Memphis redshirt freshman infielder Adam McClain, is determined more than ever to prove that he’s the five-tool player everyone expects him to be. Before his true freshman season was abruptly ended by the injury, McClain was hitting .311 (14-for-45) with eight RBIs that included one home run. His best performance came in a 3-hit game against the NCAA runner-Up Georgia Bulldogs on March 9. Last summer he played for the Luray Wranglers in the Valley League and hit .258 with 27 runs, 32 RBIs, and 9 home runs in 52 games. After the season Baseball America ranked him the No. 4 prospect in the Valley League.
McClain doesn’t want anyone to feel sorry for him missing a bulk of last season due to that unfortunate injury.
“It is what it is,” said McClain.
“I look at the injury as being a mini blessing in that I’m still technically a freshman this year but I was still able to receive a good amount of playing time before I went down. Therefore I have much more experience than the typical first-year collegiate baseball player does.”
Once he was healthy and able to get back on the playing field, what exactly did Adam learn after playing a full season in the wooden bat Valley League?
“I learned that if you don’t hit the ball squarely it’s really easy to make an out,” joked McClain.
“Yeah, it is hard getting used to the way the bat feels in your hands, but just like any sport there’s an adjustment period and it takes a lot of repetition to become a consistent and effective player.”
Mallards Manager C.J. Thieleke likes the fact that McClain was able to experience a minor league-type schedule last summer without using a year of his college eligibility.
“I like to think that everything happens for a reason and while the injury was a tough break for Adam, he’ll be the first to tell you that it’s made him a better player and a hungrier one too,” said Thieleke.
Thieleke also states that McClain’s ability to play multiple positions will give the Mallards flexibility in adjusting the lineup each and every night.
“Adam is a plus-player at both middle infield positions as well as all three spots in the outfield,” said Thieleke.
“We get the impression that he thrives in big game situations so we’re very excited to see what he can do in front of 6,000-plus screaming fans at the Duck Pond this summer.”