OAKLAND, Calif. — A day after sending down a young center fielder to Class AAA Tacoma in hopes of figuring out his struggles at the plate, the Mariners called up another young center fielder to take his place.
The Mariners recalled outfielder James Jones from the Rainiers to replace Abraham Almonte, who was sent down after Sunday’s win in Houston.
This will be Jones’ second stint with the Mariners. He was briefly called up for a three-game series in Miami in April. He appeared in one game and hit an infield single in his only big league at-bat. Jones has played in 21 games with the Rainiers this season, hitting .321 (26 for 81) with three doubles, a triple, two homers, eight runs batted in and five stolen bases.
Jones appeared as a pinch-hitter Monday and played center.
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But don’t expect Jones to sit the bench often.
“He’s going to play,” McClendon said. “We brought him up to play.”
Jones, 25, caught McClendon’s eye during spring training with his blend of athleticism, speed and work ethic.
“He’s a very talented young man,” McClendon said. “He’s been touted for his defense and his ability to steal bases. I think he should be able to hit at this level. We’ll find out. He’s got an opportunity.”
With Jones’ arrival, Michael Saunders will slide over to right field and share time with Stefen Romero. He will also play some center field. McClendon said he may protect Jones in certain situations, particularly against left-handed starting pitchers and ease him into the role.
“It depends on the lefty,” McClendon said..
Charlie Furbush’s struggles have forced McClendon to rethink how he uses the lanky left-hander. McClendon admitted he won’t use Furbush in late-inning, high-leverage situations with the game on the line.
“I will say that for right now, maybe not,” he said. “But I need to keep pitching him. He’s got to continue to get better. And eventually he’ll get back in those high-end situations. It’s not to say you won’t see Charlie in late on some occasions because you will.”
Ryan Divish: 206-464-2373 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter: @Ryan Divish.