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March 19, 2012 at 8:00 AM

Weems eager for his first professional season

FORT MYERS, Fla. – Jordan Weems, the Red Sox’ third round pick in 2011, passed up the opportunity to play for Georgia State and signed with Boston right out of high school because he wanted to begin his journey to the major leagues as soon as possible. Weems, a catcher, threw himself right into it, playing 14 games with the Gulf Coast League Red Sox after signing last season. He quickly learned that professional baseball is a lot different than high school.

“In high school I was seeing probably 85-90 [mph], and now you see 90-98 on any given day, so the game moves a little bit faster,” said Weems, “You can’t really tell when you watch it, but it moves faster.”

Weems is working on adapting to professional ball by listening to his coaches and slowing the game down. He has already left a positive impression on his Gulf Coast League manager, George Lombard.

"[Weems] understands what baseball is about," said Lombard, "[He has] a strong arm. As you can see, he is skinny and tall. He is going to mature and fill out. He has good hands, and a very typical, pretty left-handed swing. He's very loose. He's going to get stronger, and he's going to have to get consistently better."

While Weems believes that his greatest strength is his catching abilities, he recognizes that he still has some work to do when it comes to hitting.

In particular, he said he is focusing on “staying through the ball a little bit more instead of coming off with my front side. My front shoulder tends to fly out a bit.”

As a lefty himself, Weems has a bit of a different approach when it comes to facing left-handed pitchers.

“When he’s throwing I just tell myself ‘middle-away.’ A lot of guys are going to come in on you, so you’re going to want to pull the ball, and naturally, you’re going to react to an inside pitch. But I try to take him the other way.”

As a new catcher in the organization, Weems is still getting to know some of his pitchers.

“Two [bullpen sessions] is typically how long it takes [to get to know a pitcher]. And it’s very important because going out in the game, you have to know your pitchers: what they like to throw, how they like to throw, what they like to throw in certain counts.”

Of the young pitchers he’s worked with so far, Weems said he has been particularly impressed with Henry Owens’ stature and his ability to throw a “ton of strikes,” as well as the run on Cody Kukuk’s ball.

When calling a game, Weems tries to think along with the hitter.

“If he hit a fastball in the at-bat before that was up and in, we don’t want to come in on him. Or maybe we have read about him—maybe he’s a fastball hitting guy, so you want to stay away from the fastball. Depending on what the hitter likes and on what he hit before, we can work around it.”

If his pitcher is struggling, Weems doesn’t hesitate to go out to the mound to try to get him back on track. Weems explained that there can be many reasons for a catcher to have a chat with his pitcher during the game in addition to the obvious ones.

“If we can’t really find the strike zone; or maybe he’s hitting his spots real well, but they’re just hitting him; maybe your infield is not backing you up; maybe he’s walking guys; he might just need me to settle him down and say, ‘Hey, you’re doing a good job, keep it up.’”

This spring, Weems is focusing on “trying to slow the game down, let my hands work in the box, and just have fun.” He hopes to start the season with the Greenville Drive, but if not, at least the Lowell Spinners.

Elizabeth Dreeson is a Special Contributor to SoxProspects.com. Follow her on Twitter @Eli_Dreesox.