Andruw assumes lesser role to stay
Told he can't play every day, outfielder opts to remain with Rangers
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Outfielder Andruw Jones is likely to remain with the Rangers through the end of Spring Training and possibly into the regular season.Rangers general manager Jon Daniels and manager Ron Washington met with Jones on Sunday morning and talked to him about possibly accepting a lesser role on the team. The role Jones would likely hold would be that of a backup outfielder and platoon designated hitter -- if he makes the team. Jones has indicated to the Rangers that such a role would be acceptable to him.
"I never came into camp expecting to be a regular everyday player or to play center field," Jones said. "That was not my goal. My goal was to work with [hitting coach] Rudy [Jaramillo], get my swing together and be the player I once was. I never said I have to play."
"We let Andruw know last week that he's not in the mix as an everyday player," Daniels said. "To his credit, he's willing to play any role on the club we see fit or do what Ron sees fit."Jones is in camp on a Minor League contract, and the Rangers have no plans as yet to add him to their 25-man roster. Under those circumstances, he has until midnight ET on Monday to exercise an out clause in his contract and become a free agent. "That's unresolved, but he has indicated a desire to stay with us," Daniels said. Daniels said the Rangers did not ask Jones about the possibility of starting the season in the Minor Leagues. "Can I be an everyday player? Yes," Jones said. "But I didn't come into camp for that and I'm not expecting that. This is a great team and great guys. We have a chance to have a special team. It would be an honor to be a part of that."
If Jones makes the team, he would be the fifth outfielder behind David Murphy, Josh Hamilton, Nelson Cruz and Marlon Byrd. He could also get time as a right-handed DH in a platoon situation with Hank Blalock.The Rangers would have to make room for Jones by moving Frank Catalanotto, either through a trade before the end of Spring Training or by releasing him. If so, they would still be obligated for the $6 million remaining on Catalanotto's contract. "We're looking at what's the best configuration for our bench," Daniels said. The Rangers have only four spots on the bench, and three will be occupied by Byrd, infielder Omar Vizquel and the backup catcher, most likely Taylor Teagarden.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.