The Braves announced today that they’ve hired Andruw Jones as a special assistant to the baseball operations staff. The addition of the recently retired Jones will reunite him with the other most famous Jones in Braves history — former teammate Chipper Jones, who also signed on as a special assistant in the Atlanta front office this winter. “We are very excited to add Andruw to our staff as a special assistant,” said general manager John Coppolella in a press release. ““He is perhaps the most accomplished defensive outfielder in our organization’s history and one of the best in baseball history. He signed at the age of 16 and was developed in this organization. He can offer a lot of experience and knowledge to our young players and we look forward to his contributions.” Per the release, Jones will serve as a spring instructor, specialize in the development of the organization’s young outfielders during the regular season and also assist the front office with its international initiatives.
More from the NL East…
- Ruben Tejada is on the fringe of the Mets’ roster as the regular season approaches, Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News wrote over the weekend. Ackert cites two club sources in reporting that nothing is guaranteed to Tejada in terms of a roster spot, despite the fact that he’s slated to make $3MM after avoiding arbitration this offseason. (It’s worth noting that arb salaries are not fully guaranteed, so the Mets could cut Tejada and owe him just 30 days of termination pay (roughly one sixth of his salary) so long as he’s let go more than 15 days before Opening Day. Alternatively, they could cut him within 15 days of the season and owe him 45 days’ pay, so long as he’s not on the Opening Day roster. As Ackert notes, the fact that the Mets awarded Tejada an extra day of service last week, essentially permitting him to reach free agency a year sooner than expected, indicates that they don’t consider him much of a future piece. Beyond that, Wilmer Flores can capably serve as the team’s utility infielder, potentially making Tejada redundant.
- Zack Wheeler threw 10 pitches off a mound this weekend, writes Mike Puma of the New York Post, and while that may seem like a small step in his recovery, it was the first time the right-hander has pitched off a mound since undergoing Tommy John surgery last spring. The original plan for Wheeler was to have him throw off a mound in January, but the medical staff pushed that date back a bit, and Wheeler is on board with the decision.Wheeler is looking at about a 15-month window from surgery to his return, Puma writes, and the Mets will hope that the re-signed Bartolo Colon can handle his rotation spot in the interim.
- Bronson Arroyo hopes not only to make the Nationals’ roster out of Spring Training, but also to pitch beyond the 2016 season, he tells Tyler Kepner of the New York Times. “I’ve been saying for a long time, I’m going to outlast Papi,” Arroyo playfully told Kepner in reference to his former Red Sox teammate, David Ortiz. “…He might outlast me if I don’t make this club, or if my arm can’t handle the torque of pitching multiple innings. But I’m proud of what I’ve done in this game, man. If I don’t make it out of this camp and this arm just won’t go, I’m completely satisfied with what I’ve done in the game.” Kepner’s piece is a great look at Arroyo and includes his retelling of surprising trades from the D-backs to the Braves and then the Dodgers last season despite knowing he wasn’t able to pitch. Arroyo also discusses his decision to sign with the Nats over the a reunion with the Reds, including what a significant role new manager Dusty Baker (his former Cincinnati skipper) had in that decision.