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McArdle: I'm full of confidence
First baseman eyes off his second season in the USA
06/18/2018 3:13 AM ET
Safe hands - Jordan McArdle makes an out at first base.
Safe hands - Jordan McArdle makes an out at first base. (Ryan Schembri/SMP Images/ABL Media)

Following his first full season in the ABL, 20-year-old first baseman Jordan McArdle is back in the USA feeling better than ever ahead of his sophomore campaign with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

"Last year had its ups and downs. I struggled with being away from home, and injury, and that showed in the end," McArdle said.

"This year I feel a lot fresher mentally and physically; ready for the season to get started! I'm full of confidence, I've worked hard every day on my craft and the swing is feeling great."

The 2018 season begins today for the Arizona League Diamondbacks who will play 56 games in the 18-team league.

Many of the players are recent draftees and international signings and the focus for all is on personal development and adjustment to the MLB system, providing the likes of McArdle with the chance to build up fitness.

"We work out two or three times a week and sometimes will run two to three times a week, just to keep our fitness and bodies fresh," he explained.

"It's a bit different working out during the season as to when I'm home; it's more maintaining the strength and fitness than maxing out in the weights room."

Over the past 12 months, strikeouts have perhaps been McArdle's biggest obstacle with injuries during 2017 denting some early progress.

Despite that he put together remarkably similar seasons in the USA and Australia and knows his potential is there - especially after rounding out his last 10 games for Arizona with a .314 average.

"It was definitely a lot easier heading back this time having experienced the Arizona League last year," McArdle said.

"That's not to say it has been easy being away from friends and family but it is great to know I have that support behind me.

"I have felt more prepared knowing what I was getting myself into. [Teammate] Curtis Mead and Tank [Coach Chris Adamson] and I worked really hard before I got here so that helped me get into shape and hit the ground running when I got here."

One aspect of McArdle's game that Arizona will be hoping to see is his long ball, with McArdle yet to hit a homer overseas while only two of his 22 hits went for extra bases.

In comparison he has eight doubles and eight home runs across his 66 games for Adelaide.

When those hits, and home runs, start flowing more regularly McArdle hopes they will not only catch the attention of Arizona but also Team Australia.

"Showing that I can consistently hit and show off my skills at this level, I'd love to play well and make Arizona move me up the levels… but I can't control that," he said.

"I also have an eye on the U23 World Cup at the end of this season. I'd love to go on that trip; not much is better than representing your country."

The Arizona League Diamondbacks have never won their league championship with McArdle and his side sitting the wrong side of .500 in 2017.

This story was not subject to the approval of the Australian Baseball League or its clubs.