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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

MLB UPDATE: Andruw Jones returns to Japan's Rakuten Golden Eagles

By on 1/07/2014 07:45:00 PM

UPDATE: Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish reports that outfielder Andruw Jones has re-signed with the Rakuten Golden Eagles in the Nippon Professional League of Japan. Terms are undisclosed.
Once a household name when he patrolled center field in Atlanta, Andruw Jones fell off quickly in his last few years in the Major Leagues -- so much so that he fled to Japan to get a contract for 2013. Now, after hitting .243./391/.454 for the Rakuten Golden Eagles, Jones has drawn some interest from Major League teams although he could very easily remain in Japan says Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish.
Jones never really did hit for a high average (.254 career average), but he was once a prolific power hitter. He blasted 51 home runs for the Braves in 2005 and averaged 33 in his 12 full seasons in Altanta, driving in 100 runs per year while playing half his games in pitcher-friendly Turner Field. He also won 10 Gold Gloves and made five N.L. All Star teams. His highest home run total since leaving the Braves was 19 with the White Sox in 2010.

With Rakuten, Jones showed much of that power that he had earlier in his career. He hit 26 home runs and drove in 96 runs in 2013, enough for those unspecified MLB teams to want to look at him again even though he turns 37 soon after the season begins.

Jones's health is not a question. He played all but one of Rakuten's 144 games. In his last three years in the Majors, he missed only 10 games to injury. His biggest injury was right knee inflammation in 2008 (38 games missed), but he is far removed from that problem.

In his last MLB season, Jones hit .197/.294/.408 with 14 HR and 34 RBI for the A.L. East champion New York Yankees.

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