Notes: Jones gets big-league shot
Prospect starts in left against Red Sox in series opener
SEATTLE -- Adam Jones is back.Much was speculated about Jones' return to the Majors in recent weeks, especially considering his solid numbers in Triple-A this season. Those claims were answered Friday, when the Mariners recalled Jones and designated Jason Ellison for assignment. Manager John McLaren wasted no time getting Jones into the lineup, as he was slotted to play left field for Raul Ibanez, who had the day off. In 101 games with Triple-A Tacoma this season, Jones hit .314 with 25 home runs and 84 RBIs. He has spent much of the season in right field for the Rainiers, and has never played in left, but said he wasn't worried about the adjustment. "I've improved tremendously on defense," Jones said. "I haven't played in left, although I'll be in left [Friday], but hopefully I'll catch on quick. I'll work my tail off to get better at that." McLaren said the move was made to have another right-handed hitter in the lineup, and that Jones, 22, would not be an everyday player. He appeared with the club in 32 games last season, where he averaged .216 with one home run and eight RBIs. It was widely speculated that Jones would join the team immediately after the All-Star break, although the rumor never amounted to much. Jones was pulled from the sixth inning of his Triple-A game Wednesday, something he knew was a good sign. A phone call on Thursday confirmed it -- he was going to get another chance in the big leagues. "I'm a year older and more prepared," Jones said. "I'm ready and realizing that I don't need to do too much to fit in, or to accomplish things." Although the promotion was a hit with some of the Mariners -- Jones said closer J.J. Putz greeted him with a hug in the clubhouse -- not everyone is sold on the idea of the young prospect appearing with the Mariners so soon, especially taking Ellison's place. Everyday right fielder Jose Guillen was upset after learning the news following Wednesday's win over the Angels, and told the Seattle Times, "I understand he's a good prospect and if they think he's ready, then hey, we'll see. He's going to have to come here and prove that to us." McLaren listened to the team's reservations about the move, but also said, personal feelings aside, the move was best for the organization. "I told these guys how I felt about it, and where I was coming from, and gave them the chance to express themselves, and I think we had a real nice discussion," McLaren said. "Jason Ellison is a swell guy, he fit in the clubhouse so nice." But Ellison's clubhouse chemistry paled in comparison to how Jones could be used on the Mariners. With Jones, Seattle has a chance to rest valuable legs down the stretch, including Ibanez and center fielder Ichiro Suzuki. McLaren said, among other possibilities, Jones may be used to play in center while Ichiro is used as the designated hitter. Jose Vidro, the Mariners' regular DH, could possibly appear at second base, giving Jose Lopez some much-needed rest, as well. The move could also help with how utility player Willie Bloomquist is used in games. McLaren said the team often tries to save Bloomquist for late in games, although Jones' versatility could allow him to be used earlier. "We had been talking for a couple weeks about how we could improve the ballclub, and I felt another right-hand bat would help, and Adam Jones, as we know, is a right-hand bat," McLaren said. "Adam's not going to be an everyday player. We have an everyday lineup out there, and we're going to use him as we see fit to use him." Jones said he learned a lot in his 32 games in the Majors last season, and plans to build on that with his time in Seattle this season. Most importantly, though, he wants to be a key ingredient to the team's success. "I don't want to mess up the mold they have," Jones said. "I'm just going to try and be a small piece in the puzzle, and contribute everything I can do." When it was all said and done, though, McLaren remained convinced the decision was best for the team. "I feel when it's all said and done, we have a better roster today than we did Wednesday," McLaren said. "That's not a knock at Jason Ellison, it just gives us a little better option." Reitsma done for season: Reliever Chris Reitsma is likely done for the season after undergoing surgery on his right elbow on Thursday. McLaren and Reitsma both said a return any time this season is highly unlikely. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list on July 30 with right elbow tendinitis. His contract expires at the end of this season, but does have an option through 2008. Back on top: Ichiro entered Friday's game against the Red Sox as the American League batting leader, hitting .351 with 155 hits, which also leads the league. Ichiro has previously won the AL batting titles in 2001 and 2004. On deck: The Mariners host the Red Sox in Game 2 of a three-game series, with lefty Jarrod Washburn (8-7, 4.11 ERA) opposing right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka (12-8, 3.75). First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. PT.
Patrick Brown is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.