Andruw Jones more than doubled his season RBI total yesterday. He went deep twice, part of a 3-for-3 afternoon that raised Jones’ batting average above the Mendoza line and brought his RBI total from three to seven.
Did he save his job in the process?
Getting sporadic playing time — even more sporadic than he’s gotten used to — Jones has struggled to live up to his billing as Marcus Thames’ replacement. He has even struggled to live up to his billing as Andruw Jones. Last season, the Yankees opened with both Thames and Randy Winn as reserve outfielders, and it was almost exactly one year ago that the Yankees decided they’d seen enough of Winn.
On May 28 of last season, Winn had 61 at-bats. He was hitting .213/.300/.295 with one home run, eight RBI, 15 strikeouts and a .595 OPS. He was designated for assignment.
Before yesterday’s game, Jones had 47 at-bats. He was hitting .191/.240/.340 with two home runs, three RBI, 17 strikeouts and a .580 OPS.
I tend to think Jones’ leash was a little bit longer than Winn’s. Nick Swisher is struggling, Chris Dickerson is a lefty, and there’s no immediately available, in-house, veteran alternative. But eventually the Yankees might have been forced to make a change, to give up on Jones and give Justin Maxwell, Brandon Laird, Kevin Russo or even Eduardo Nunez a shot as a right-handed outfielder.
If nothing else, yesterday’s game might have delayed that decision and bought Jones a few more at-bats to have a Thames-like impact, not a Winn-like exit. I don’t think he was on the verge of being released, but he might have been creeping closer. Yesterday put him back on solid ground.
Associated Press photo