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John Jaso proves his value for the Rays

7:00 PM, Apr 26, 2010   |    comments
Tampa Bay Rays catcher John Jaso hits a 2 run RBI single in the fifth inning during their game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Tropicana Field. (Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE)
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St. Petersburg, Florida - April's hot run for the Rays hasn't escaped rookie catcher John Jaso.

"Everything that you work for, and this is it. So (I'm) pretty much enjoying it as long as I have it, you know?"

Right now, it's a lot to enjoy for Jaso, who has gone 6 for 14 since his April 14 call-up. This past weekend against Toronto, he snagged his first big league home run in his 11th career big league game. The next day, he drove in two runs, reached base three times, and caught a complete game.

"It's an honor," says Jaso. "It's great to play on such an amazing ball team, you know? It's just great to see everything happen out there."

Everything has been happening for Jaso, who is also receiving rave reviews for transforming himself defensively since spring training. Offensively, after a 5-game call up in 2008, Jaso was considered an on base percentage (OBP) machine in the minors. His quality at bats show the work and his desire to stick around.

"I've had some help with hitting," says Jaso. "I get a little antsy there at the plate sometimes and I'll swing at some pitches I shouldn't be (swinging at), and coaches -- and players as well -- calm me down. They say 'Get your pitch,' and stuff. And that helps out a lot. I still have that adrenaline going through me, so that does help, it's great."

"I'm sure you've noticed, he's pretty much laying off the ball, swinging at the strike. He looks 'hitter-ish' right now," says Rays' Manager Joe Maddon. "He looks very confident at the plate. Anytime you catch a shutout, you go home feeling good about yourself. He's done a really good job behind the plate too."

Jaso just wants to take in everything this big league stay can offer. He's extremely grateful for the team around him.

"Defensively, offensively, this team will never give up, you know. They're swinging and staying in it all the way through the ninth inning, and it's just, it's a lot of fun."

Angela Jacobs, 10 Connects

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