Wells excited to work with up-and-coming Pompey

Former All-Star center fielder can relate to Blue Jays prospect's situation

Wells excited to work with up-and-coming Pompey

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- If there's anyone who knows what Dalton Pompey must be going through in his first full Spring Training with the Blue Jays, it's Vernon Wells.

Wells advanced through three levels of the Minor Leagues before making his debut at 20 years old. Once there, he was saddled with all the pressure and expectation that goes along with being a future cornerstone of the organization.

Toronto's No. 3 prospect, Pompey finds himself in a similar spot this season. He also went through all three levels in one year before breaking into the Majors at 21. Now the hope is that he'll be able to stick around and hold onto the job, but according to Wells, it's about a lot more than just that.

Pompey's sliding grab

"I think he's kind of in a position right now where it's kind of his spot to lose," said Wells, who joined the Blue Jays on Tuesday as a guest instructor. "With that mentality, you've kind of got to go out and try to dominate each day. I've been in that position, and it's a fun position to be in. But you can't take for granted the work you need to put in to excel.

"It's not a matter of winning this job. It's a matter of trying to be the best center fielder you can be in the American League. There's a lot that goes into that -- preparations, knowing situations. And it's just a matter of, the more he plays the game, the more he'll absorb the information and be able to translate it into games."

Reaching out to former players seems to be something the Blue Jays are doing with more frequency in recent years. Roy Halladay made an appearance in camp last spring, and the club plans to bring in Scott Rolen to work with prospect Mitch Nay.

Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos reached out to Wells during the offseason and asked if he'd be willing to stop by. Wells is expected to be around for the next few days to share experiences and stories from a career that lasted 15 seasons in the Major Leagues. He doesn't plan on taking a full-time position anytime soon, but his appearance this spring is one way to remain close to the game during his retirement.

There will be opportunities to work with other players, but it seems like the focus will be on Pompey, in particular his approach to the game.

Pompey swipes second

"I think first and foremost, he's a good kid," Wells said. "Anyone you talk to will tell you that. That's a good start. And you want a kid who is willing to open his ears and not think that he's got it all figured out at the age of 22. When you run into those types, they tend to weed themselves out pretty quickly.

"So if you're able to be absorbent and know that each and every day you come to the field, you're wanting to learn something, because that's what this game is about. You continue learning until the day you're done. As long as he keeps that attitude, he'll be fine."

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.