In just a short time at the major-league level, outfielder James Jones has impressed the Mariners with his athleticism, attitude and performance in the field.
In 10 games entering Tuesday, Jones is hitting .391 (9 for 23) with three doubles and three runs scored. He’s also showed the ability to make some brilliant catches in center field.
But with all the success, there have been a few mistakes along the way, which were expected of a rookie in his first stint at baseball’s highest level.
In Monday’s 12-4 win, Jones had three hits and scored three runs. But it wasn’t a perfect game.
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“He made a couple mistakes on the bases, but he’ll get better,” manager Lloyd McClendon said.
They weren’t major mistakes noticeable to the average fan. But in baseball, those little mistakes can add up to a loss.
“I talked to him last night about it,” McClendon said. “And what’s interesting is he knew, he had all the answers when I asked him about it. He answered correctly.
“ In the heat of the game, your adrenaline gets pumping and you’ve never situations before and it kind gets you a little bit. I don’t think he’ll make those mistakes again. He’s a very intelligent kid. He adapts fairly quickly. He made a mistake, adapt and move on.”
Jones will also be adapting on defense.
In the seventh inning, Jones took an odd angle on a ground ball into the gap in left-center that got by him all the way to the wall for a bases-clearing double.
“He’s just not used to balls being hit that hard,” McClendon said.
Tampa Bay, having lost six of seven, entered Tuesday’s game against the Mariners in last place in the AL East at 16-23.
Rays manager Joe Maddon had a nose for a possible solution: He asked his players to wear cologne during the game.
“I’m hoping for this really awful odor in the dugout with all these scents tonight,” Maddon said before the game. “That would be outstanding.”
Maddon has a reputation as an entertaining, and eccentric, personality. During spring training, he brought a bread maker into the Rays’ lunchroom because he believed “aroma mattered.”
“I really believe aroma still matters,” he said Tuesday. “I was just trying to conjure up our guys’ fathers into their daily experience here. My dad, Monday night (was) bowling night and he’d get all cleaned up, shaven up and go out to bowl and put his cologne on. My dad was really into colognes. I think it was Brut or Canoe back in the day.
“So there’s always that really warm fuzzy about how your dad smelled when he went bowling with uncle Jack and uncle Buzz on Monday nights, so I thought that the guys would kind of dig maybe possibly spraying the cologne on that their dad would wear — that kind of nostalgic thing to stir things up a bit.”
Adam Jude: 206-464-2364 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter: @a_jude.