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Jones replacing Thames (in every way)

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[2]Spring training numbers helped tell the Yankees that Bartolo Colon might have something left and that Eric Chavez might be healthy again, but they weren’t nearly enough to give Jorge Vazquez a shot at the big league roster or win Luis Ayala the setup role.

As a general rule, spring training numbers don’t mean much. And they mean almost nothing for Andruw Jones.

This spring, Jones is hitting just .171/.261/.293, but he’ll certainly break camp with the team, and the Yankees need to look no further than Marcus Thames for proof that a guy like Jones has to be judged on more than the month of March.

Jones is basically the new Thames. His responsibilities are to hit for power — primarily against lefties —  and to play occasionally in the outfield corners. Last season, Thames was terrific in that role. His defense wasn’t good, but it was generally passable, and he hit .288/.350/.491 while playing more often than expected.

Such a season came after Thames hit just .135/.182/.269 in spring training. Those numbers were even worse before he homered twice in the last six games.

“You don’t get too caught up in spring training numbers,” Joe Girardi said. “You go more on a history.”

The fact Jones hit .230/.341/.486 last season carries considerably more weight than his slash line this spring. Jones’ batting average was low last season, but the power is what the Yankees want. They especially like that he hit .256/.373/.558 against lefties.

“I’ve watched his at-bats,” Girardi said. “He’s worked on some things. We brought Andruw in to play against left-handers, and the majority of his at-bats (this spring) have been against right-handers. I’m happy with what he’s done.”

Associated Press photo