Weems Looking To Open Some Eyes

Chase Weems has battled back to get stronger

TAMPA, FL - Yankees 2007 sixth round pick Chase Weems, who got sick last summer, signed too late last season to make his professional debut in the Yankees organization. Finally putting on the lost weight, the catcher is now participating in his first Spring Training and he's hoping to open some eyes.

Battling mononucleosis and subsequent stomach ulcers after being drafted by the Yankees last June, Chase Weems lost nearly 25 pounds off his already pretty lean frame prior to signing with New York last August and that put him a bit behind schedule.

He spent the entire offseason trying to gain the weight back and even reported to the Yankees minor league complex back on January 15th to help ensure that goal being achieved.

"I sat home working out and just try to hit balls any time I could, trying to get back into shape and get ready for [Spring Training]," said Weems. "Since the first time I reported down here [in August] I'm 26 pounds heavier.

"That was the main thing I was looking for, to put that weight back on that I lost when I got sick. I worked out everyday at six o'clock in the morning and sometimes twice a day just to get back into shape."

Not exactly having the body type that easily puts on weight, the sweet-swinging lefty has looked quite strong in his first week of official minor league Spring Training.

"I feel wonderful," he admitted. "This is probably the best I've ever felt playing baseball. Getting sick was the downfall but I think it also blessed me in a way too, just giving my body a break. It was a long way to get back to where I was but I think I've made it now."

Routinely leading the pack among the catchers in running drills this week and bringing a ton of energy to the field, the Georgia native, now feeling he has caught up with everybody else physically, has been getting to work on improving his entire game.

"It won't hurt me getting better in all the areas, that's what I'm working on," said Weems. "I'm working on all aspects of the game. Behind the plate, just receiving the ball, I need to get used to seeing these hard throwers. Coming out of high school that's something you're not used to, that's a real jump for me."

Offensively he has been hitting line-drive after line-drive in the cages, and while he feels as strong as he has ever felt, he admits hitting for more power is something that will come in due time.

"Maybe not this year," he said if he plans to hit for power. "My goal this year is to hit for average and maybe when I start getting a little bit bigger then I'll start thinking about hitting for more power."

Grounded in his immediate expectations for the upcoming season and even right now in his first Spring Training, he has set himself one basic goal for his remaining time in camp.

"You've got to find a way to standout," he said. "I haven't figured out how to do that yet, I guess just spraying balls all over the field and getting it done behind the plate.

"I just want to open people's eyes and show them what I can do, prove to them I can play baseball."

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