SEATTLE – Mariners rookie James Jones didn’t have to do much to earn some praise from veteran teammate Robinson Cano the other day.
Jones, the 25-year-old outfielder making his sixth appearance in the Mariners No. 99 uniform Thursday night, came off the bench and delivered a seventh-inning sacrifice bunt against the Royals. After the game, Cano approached Jones and offered encouragement.
“Those are the things that are going to keep you up here,” Cano said he told Jones of the bunt.
The next night, Jones had a pinch-hit double – his first career extra-base hit – that led to the Mariners’ only run in a 6-1 defeat. By Saturday afternoon, Jones was penned in as the Mariners’ leadoff hitter for the first time.
The encouragement from Cano, Jones said, meant a lot.
“He was just saying, ‘Know what type of player you are. Don’t try to do too much,’ ” Jones said.
“And that helped relax me. Because I’m not going to go up there and try to hit a home run. I’m going to go up there and try get on base and hit the ball hard. I’m going to keep it simple. That really settled me.”
Jones, the lanky, 6-foot-4 center fielder, had a four-game stint with the Mariners in April – recording an infield hit in his first major league at-bat – before getting recalled from Class AAA Tacoma last Monday. He has six hits in 13 at-bats in his young big league career for a .462 average, with two strikeouts, three walks and one steal on his only attempt.
“He’s the prototypical-type leadoff guy. We’ll give him his chance and see what he can do,” Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said.
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