11 Mar

keeping up with jones

The Detroit Tigers page on mlb.com lists Richton’s JaCoby Jones third on the depth chart of center fielders, behind Mikie Mahtook and Tyler Collins. Of the three, all competing for the starting job, Jones has clearly had the better spring. He is 7-for-18 with three doubles and a homer, which he hit on Thursday. Tigers manager Brad Ausmus has said he is impressed with Jones’ defensive abilities. Yet there remains much debate about whether Jones will make the big league team to start 2017. “He’s got the potential to be a very talented major league player, but even the best major league players usually require some honing of their skills prior to the big leagues,” Ausmus told mlb.com. In the Sporting News’ preseason yearbook, a rival scout questioned Jones’ maturity. Jones, 24, batted .214 in 13 games for the Tigers in 2016. In 364 minor league games, the 2013 third-round pick has hit .269 with 47 homers and 58 steals. He was a middle infielder at Richton and LSU and played mostly shortstop in the low minors before transitioning to third base and then the outfield. Bottom line: Jones, who goes 6 feet 2, 205 pounds, might start 2017 in Triple-A, but it would be surprising if he’s stuck in Toledo for very long. P.S. Former Picayune High standout T.J. House apparently is OK after being struck in the back of the head by a line drive while pitching for Toronto on Friday. A bloodied House was taken off the field on a stretcher and spent the night in a Florida hospital. He tweeted shortly after the incident that “things are looking good.” The left-hander, who has big league time with Cleveland, is in the Blue Jays’ camp as a non-roster invitee.

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