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Andruw Jones

Andruw Rudolf Jones (born April 23, 1977 in Willemstad, Netherlands Antilles) is a Major League Baseball player for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

During his first two years with the Atlanta Braves, Jones most often appeared as a right fielder. However, since then, he has played exclusively in center field. Aside from , when he appeared in 32 games, Jones appeared in 150 or more games in each year of his career up to , when only appeared in 75 games.

Jones is a noted defensive specialist and has won the Rawlings Gold Glove Award for outfielders every year since .

He has appeared in the All-Star Game five times and he won both the Hank Aaron Award and a Silver Slugger Award for outfielders in . In , he was the inaugural National League All-Star Final Vote winner.

Early professional career

Jones signed with the Atlanta Braves organization as a free agent in at the age of 16. By , he was being hailed as "the next Griffey." The Braves brought Jones up to Atlanta on August 15, 1996, when he was just 19 years old. He spent his early time in the majors playing in right field because established center fielders Marquis Grissom and Kenny Lofton were already entrenched in the position.

In Game 1 of the 1996 World Series on October 20, 1996, Jones was able to demonstrate his talents on the national stage. He connected for two home runs to left field on his first two at-bats as the Braves routed the New York Yankees 12-1. Jones became the youngest player ever to homer in the World Series (breaking Mickey Mantle's record - on Mantle's birthday.)

Major league career

Atlanta Braves

Jones became the Braves' everyday right fielder in , but posted a disappointing .231 batting average. In 1998, he moved to center field and had a much more encouraging season. His average improved to .271, he hit 31 homers, and stole 27 bases. He also won his first of ten straight Gold Glove Awards.

Whether he was in the batter's box or gliding under a fly ball to make a casual basket catch, Jones played the game in a very relaxed manner. This temporarily earned him the ire of manager Bobby Cox in June 1998 in an incident in which Cox pulled Jones out of a game because he felt Jones had lazily allowed a single to drop in center field.

Still only 22 years old, Jones had similar numbers in , and though he was a dependable (he played all 162 games that season) and good player, many began to wonder if or when he would live up to the potential that they believed he possessed. He had a mini-breakout season in with, up to that point, career highs in average (.303), homers (36), and RBI (104). He also earned his first All-Star appearance.

However, in his average fell and his strikeouts went up. By now, Jones had gained nearly 30 pounds since reaching the majors, greatly diminishing his speed on the basepaths (he would not steal more than 11 bases after 2001). He maintained similar numbers in 2002, but was still playing superb defense. In , with power-hitting Gary Sheffield in the lineup, Jones set a new career high in RBI (116). Unfortunately, he took a step backward in when he hit fewer than 30 homers and struck out 147 times.

Breakout in 2005

Prior to the 2005 season, Jones increased his workout regimen and, following advice given by Hall of Famer Willie Mays, widened his batting stance. The result was his most productive offensive season ever. Jones hit a major league-leading 51 home runs, surpassing Hank Aaron's and Eddie Mathews' single-season club record. He also led the National League with a career-high 128 RBI. Jones' torrid hitting in the summer, especially while teammate Chipper Jones was out with an injury, helped carry the Braves to their 14th consecutive division championship. He finished just behind St. Louis Cardinals' first baseman Albert Pujols in the 2005 NL MVP vote.

2006

Before the season, Jones played in the World Baseball Classic for the Netherlands. Jones continued to dominate opposing pitchers in 2006, finishing the season with 41 home runs and 129 RBI. Jones also became more selective at the plate (82 walks, as compared to 64 the prior season), which helped him score 107 runs during 2006, an increase of 12 over the prior year and his most in a single season since 2000. He won his ninth consecutive Gold Glove award.

2007

Coming into the last year of his contract with the Braves, many fans and sports analysts alike felt that 2007 would be the last year in which Jones would be a Brave, mostly because of his potential value on the market that the Braves would not be able to afford. Jones, however, had an unexpectedly poor start to the season, striking out 51 times in 41 games and carrying a batting average in the low .200s for the majority of April and May.

On April 30, Jones hit a three-run walk-off home run against the Philadelphia Phillies. On May 28, Jones hit his 350th career homer off Chris Capuano. After the All-Star break, Jones continued to have productive power numbers; however, his batting average remained poor.

On October 2, the Braves announced they would not be bringing Jones back for the 2008 season.

Los Angeles Dodgers

2008

On December 5, 2007, Jones agreed to a two-year deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers, worth $36.2 million. He continued to struggle, hitting below .200 for most of the season. Additionally, he had only 10 hits in 116 at-bats with runners in scoring position. Due to his lack of production, Jones was dropped to eighth in the Dodger line-up. This was the first time since 1998 that Jones had hit eighth in any line-up.

On April 19, he hit his first home run as a Dodger, appropriately enough at Turner Field against the Braves.

Jones was put on the disabled list for the first time in his entire career on May 25, 2008. He had knee surgery after batting practice earlier that day.

On July 27, 2008, Dodgers manager Joe Torre benched Jones and said he would only be used as a spot starter in the future, effectively giving up on the season. On the day he was benched Jones had a .166 batting average, two home runs and 12 RBI coupled with 68 strikeouts in 187 at-bats..

On September 13, 2008, Jones was put on the 60-day disabled list, effectively ending his disappointing season. Jones finished the season with a .158 batting average, three home runs, and 14 RBI.

Personal life

He married the former Nicole Derick...the couple have a son, Druw, and he has a daughter, Madison, from a previous relationship. Jones and his family currently live in Duluth, Georgia. He has said that he and his family will continue to live in Duluth in the offseason.

Jones' current car collection, as showcased on MTV Cribs and Unique Whips, includes:

Career Stats

Year Age Team Lg G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS+ TB SH SF IBB HBP GDP VORP
1996 19 Atlanta NL

31 106 11 23 7 1 5 13 3 0 7 29 .217 .265 .443 79 47 0 0 0 0 1 -1.7
1997 20 Atlanta NL

153 399 60 92 18 1 18 70 20 11 56 107 .231 .329 .416 93 166 5 3 2 4 11 1.6
1998 21 Atlanta NL

159 582 89 158 33 8 31 90 27 4 40 129 .271 .321 .515 116 300 1 4 8 4 10 36.6
1999 22 Atlanta NL

162 592 97 163 35 5 26 84 24 12 76 103 .275 .365 .483 113 286 0 2 11 9 11 37.6
2000 23 Atlanta NL

161 656 122 199 36 6 36 104 21 6 59 100 .303 .366 .541 125 355 0 5 0 9 12 60.0
2001 24 Atlanta NL

161 625 104 157 25 2 34 104 11 4 56 142 .251 .312 .461 94 288 0 9 3 3 10 19.6
2002 25 Atlanta NL

154 560 91 148 34 0 35 94 8 3 83 135 .264 .366 .513 127 287 0 6 4 10 14 45.7
2003 26 Atlanta NL

156 595 101 165 28 2 36 116 4 3 53 125 .277 .338 .513 117 305 0 6 2 5 18 38.1
2004 27 Atlanta NL

154 570 85 149 34 4 29 91 6 6 71 147 .261 .345 .488 112 278 0 2 9 3 24 28.1
2005 28 Atlanta NL

160 586 95 154 24 3 51 128 5 3 64 112 .263 .347 .575 136 337 0 7 13 15 19 52.8
2006 29 Atlanta NL

156 565 107 148 29 0 41 129 4 1 82 127 .262 .363 .531 126 300 0 9 9 13 13 49.3
2007 30 Atlanta NL

154 572 83 127 27 2 26 94 5 2 70 138 .222 .311 .413 88 236 0 9 4 8 16 5.4
2008 31 Los Angeles NL 75 209 21 33 8 1 3 14 0 1 27 76 .158 .256 .249 32 52 0 1 0 1 5 -17.7
Totals:

1836 6617 1066 1716 338 35 371 1131 138 56 744 1470 .259 .339 .489 111 3237 6 63 65 84 164 355.4

Awards and Accomplishments

See also

References

External links

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