Andruw Jones to play in Japan
SENDAI (Japan) -
Andruw Jones has signed an one-year contract with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles on December 7.
The club plays in the Pacific League, one of the two leagues in the Japanese Major League.
Jones agreed to a $ 3.5 million dollar contract.
The Golden Eagles finished in fourth place this season with a 67-67 record.
Miyagi Baseball Stadium, the home of the Golden Eagles, was heavily damaged in March 2011 during the earthquake and tsunami that hit the area.
This year, Andruw Jones played in his second season with the New York Yankees, where he had signed on January 20, 2011 for $ 2 million.
In his first Yankee at bat on April 5, 2011, Jones hit a homerun.
After hitting .238 with 13 homeruns and 33 runs batted in, he re-signed with the Yankees in December 2011 for another one-year, 2 million dollar contract.
Jones initially was a back-up player, but he went on to play in 94 games.
Jones finished the 2012 season with a .197 average (46-for-233) with 14 homeruns, scored 27 runs and had 34 RBI's.
After completion of the season, Jones was granted his free agency on October 29.
The 35-year old Andruw Jones, who was born in Willemstad (Curaçao), signed his first contract on July 1, 1993 with the Atlanta Braves when he was only 16 years old.
He made his professional debut in 1994 playing in two Rookie League-teams for the Braves.
From then on, it went quickly with his career.
He promoted to Single-A in 1995, then also played in Double-A and Triple-A in 1996.
On August 15, 1996, the outfielder made his big league-debut with the Braves, where he would play for 12 seasons.
Two months later, he got the attention of the professional baseball world during the World Series of 1996 when he became the youngest player ever to hit a homerun in the postseason at the age of 19 years and 180 days, breaking the record of legendary Mickey Mantle.
Moments later, Jones became only the second player in history to hit a homerun in his first two World Series at bats, the other being Gene Tenace.
Coincidentally, Jones broke the record on the day that Mantle would have turned 65.
Mantle passed away in August 1995 at age 63.
Jones played in 1761 Major League-games for the Braves and batted .263 (1683-for-6408) with 368 homeruns, 1045 runs scored and 1117 runs batted in.
With the Braves, he won the Gold Glove Award for outfielders every year from 1998 through 2007.
After the 2007 season, Jones became a Free Agent and signed a 2-year deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers, where he only played in 2008.
With the Dodgers, Jones had a disappointing season, needed surgery for a knee injury, batting only .158 in 75 games, hit only three homeruns and collected 14 RBI's.
In January 2009, Jones was released, then signed a minor league-contract a month later with the Texas Rangers, made the Major League-roster, but played only one season with the club.
With Texas, he batted .214 with 17 homeruns and 43 RBI's.
In November 2009, Jones again became a Free Agent and then signed with the Chicago White Sox less then three weeks later.
With the ChiSox, Jones played in 107 games, finished with a .230 average, scored 41 runs, hit 19 homeruns and had 48 RBI's.
After becoming a Free Agent once more after the 2010 season, he went on to sign with the New York Yankees.
In his career, Jones played in five All Star Games.
In 2005, Jones led the National League with 51 homeruns and 128 runs batted in to finish in second place for the Most Valuable Player Award behind Albert Pujols.
In his 17-year Major League-career, Jones played in 2196 games, batted .254 (1933-for-7599) with 434 homeruns, scored 1204 runs and was credited with 1289 runs batted in.
He was named Minor League Player of the Year in 1995 and 1996 and was the Major League Player of the Year in 2005.
In 2006, Andruw Jones was a member of the Dutch National Baseball Team, which then participated in the first World Baseball Classic.
Jones then played in two of the three games the Dutch squad played during the event.
|...Miyagi Baseball Stadium in Sendai, the home of the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles...|
(© Photos: Marco Stoovelaar)