JaCoby Jones suspended 50 games for drug of abuse
Tigers infield prospect JaCoby Jones’ rise up the organizational ladder is halted. The shortstop received a 50-game suspension from Major League Baseball on Thursday after a second positive test for a drug of abuse.
The suspension includes the rest of Arizona Fall League, where Jones had been selected for Saturday’s Fall Stars Game showcasing the league’s top prospects. He had been removed from the Scottsdale Scorpions’ lineup earlier Thursday with what was characterized as an illness, according to the Detroit News. The remaining games in Scottsdale’s season (12, including Thursday) will count towards Jones’ suspension, leaving him to serve a 38-game suspension to begin next year.
The Tigers issued a statement in the wake of the suspension announcement:
“The Detroit Tigers recognize the suspension of JaCoby Jones for violating Minor League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program as a measure taken in the best interest of the game, and the ballclub continues to fully support this policy. The Tigers’ organization will provide no further comment on Jones’ suspension.”
The Tigers acquired Jones from Pittsburgh in the Joakim Soria trade July 30. He had a three-homer outburst in his third game for Double-A Erie on Aug. 2, and finished with a .250 average, six homers and 20 RBIs in 37 games for the SeaWolves. He finished the season as the Tigers’ 10th-ranked prospect according to MLB.com’s rankings.
For the year, the 23-year-old batted .257 with 25 doubles, 16 homers and 80 RBIs in 133 games across three stops, ending the season ranked 10th on MLB.com’s Tigers top prospect list. He won AFL Co-Player of the Week honors a couple weeks ago after following up a two-homer game with a 4-for-4 effort for the Scottsdale Scorpions, and entered Thursday batting .280 (14-for-50) with three walks and 17 strikeouts for the campaign.
Jones’ hitting and positional versatility might have given him a chance to land a spot in Major League camp for Spring Training.
The Arizona Fall League announced Thursday evening that Tigers outfield prospect Mike Gerber will replace Jones on the Fall Stars Games roster. The 23-year-old entered Thursday batting .298 (14-for-47) for Scottsdale with four doubles, two triples, a home run, 12 RBIs and a stolen base. He ranks 18th on MLB.com’s Tigers prospect rankings.