Tigers call up JaCoby Jones from Toledo
JaCoby Jones climbed the prospect rankings in the Tigers system as a combination center fielder and third baseman. With Cameron Maybin sidelined and Nick Castellanos on the disabled list, it appears the Tigers are going to give him a chance to do a little bit of both.
A day after Maybin re-injured his left thumb, the Tigers called up Jones from Triple-A Toledo on Tuesday, adding the versatile 24-year-old to the 40-man roster. He takes the place of Casey McGehee, was optioned to Toledo to make room.
The Tigers also swapped pitchers to add an extra reliever, recalling lefty Blaine Hardy from Toledo. Matt Boyd, Detroit’s starting pitcher in Monday’s win over the White Sox, was optioned to Toledo to make room, but the move is temporary. Major League rosters expand beyond the standard 25 on Thursday, allowing the Tigers to recall Boyd in time for his next start. McGehee, too, can return in a few days.
The more important move is the addition of Jones, one of the quiet gems of Detroit’s deadline deals last summer. Acquired from Pittsburgh for Joakim Soria last year, the former LSU infielder enjoyed a standout final month at Double-A Erie, followed by a strong campaign in the Arizona Fall League before being suspended by Major League Baseball for testing positive for a substance of abuse. He vaulted into the top 10 on MLB.com’s Tigers prospect rankings.
After a strong Spring Training, Jones finished out his suspension, then picked up where he left off, batting .257 (95-for-369) with 20 doubles, seven triples, seven home runs and 43 RBIs between Toledo and Double-A Erie. He rebounded from a rough start with the Mud Hens to bat .269 (29-for-108) in August with seven doubles, a triple and seven RBIs.
With a high strikeout rate — including 97 over 79 games in Toledo — Jones could be an all-or-nothing hitter down the stretch as he tries to adjust to Major League pitching. With injuries taking their toll on the Tigers roster, however, management is willing to take a shot.
Jones has started 57 games in center at Toledo, and 18 at third base. He can provide a right-handed hitter to complement Tyler Collins in center and Erick Aybar at third.