NEAR SCOTTSDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - Dressed head-to-toe in Arizona Diamondbacks workout gear, a fit and happy Adam Jones met the media Tuesday afternoon at Salt River Fields and declared himself ready to be a D-back and ready to win some baseball games.
“It feels great,” said Jones. “It feels great to come into a clubhouse again and put on the team colors. I’m just thrilled to have the opportunity to play baseball again. I’m ready to go. Let’s go play some baseball.”
Jones, 33, is a five-time All-Star and four-time Gold Glove award winner and will likely be immediately plugged into center field where converted infielder Ketel Marte had been manning the position. Jones hit .281 with 15 homers and 63 RBIs last season for the Baltimore Orioles. Production-wise, his numbers have fallen in recent years but signed to a reported one-year deal worth $3 million. The D-backs are hoping there’s value in what Jones can provide at the plate, in the outfield and inside the clubhouse.
“You’ve got a veteran presence here so it’s not like I’m coming in to be the savior in any type of way,” said Jones. “But I think I can with the young guys – especially the position players. When it comes to the mindset of perseverance and positivity, I can help. Pushing the guy next to you – that’s how you become a successful team and successful franchise.”
D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said Tuesday he expects Jones to see time at all three outfield positions. He’ll be joining an outfield that includes Steven Souza, David Peralta and Jarrod Dyson. Marte is expected to return to the infield but could remain an option in center field.
“I’ve been a formidable force in this game,” said Jones. “I know last year wasn’t the greatest year but it happened. I’m just glad everybody can turn the page. I’ve got a new opportunity here so I’m going to try and maximize that opportunity.”
Jones, who makes his home in San Diego, is thrilled to be playing close to home in the National League West. He’s been in Arizona for two weeks working out – running Camelback Mountain to stay in shape and getting in batting practice at GCU baseball facility. Jones also has a built-in No. 1 fan already living in the Valley – his mother.
“She’s thrilled,” said Jones. “She came here years ago when I was with the Mariners and hasn’t left. I think she spoke this into existence – that one day I might come here and she will get to watch me play.”