One week ago, Jones’ job seemed to be in danger. If not in danger, certainly in question. He’d been brought to New York to hit against lefties, and he wasn’t hitting against anyone. He had only 50 plate appearances, but the early results were enough to wonder if Justin Maxwell might be a better right-handed outfield option.
Then Jones went 3-for-3 with two home runs on Wednesday. In his next start, he was 1-for-4 with a key three-run double on Sunday. Jones is hitting .268/.318/.610 against left-handers, which is exactly what he was brought here to do.
“I’m feeling good the last two games, for sure,” Jones said. “I had about 20 at-bats that I wish I could erase, but you have to keep working, keep hanging in there and keep working with K-Long, making adjustments. When they call your name, just go out there and get the job done.”
Two games is hardly a sample size that proves anything, but it’s enough to show the potential of a platoon bat like Jones. It’s enough to show that 50 plate appearances might not be an especially meaningful sample size either. It’s not enough to prove that a player is finished.
The Yankees will probably lean on Jones these next two games. They’re facing two of the best left-handers in the American League in Brett Anderson and Gio Gonzalez. Jones doesn’t have good numbers against either of them — 1-for-10 against Anderson, 1-for-7 against Gonzalez — but if he’s starting to find his swing, he’s probably worth a start.
“We’ve faced some pretty good lefties in our league,” Joe Girardi said. “There are a lot of good lefties in he American League right now. He got off to a hot start, then he went through a little period, but now he’s swinging the bat good and has been very productive. Seven RBI in his last two games, it doesn’t get any better than that.”
Associated Press photo