Jacque Jones has returned to his roots, re-joining the Minnesota Twins after a summer stint with the Newark Bears of the independent Atlantic League. At 34 years old, he's decided to give the big leagues one more shot... or the big leagues decided to give him one more shot. Either way.
Jones, who roamed the Twins' outfield from 1999-2005, showed up at the winter meetings and managed to convince GM Bill Smith that he still has what it takes to play with the big boys. Whatever he said apparently did the trick, as the team gave him a call two months later with a minor league offer and a Spring Training invite.
The days of the "Soul Patrol" may be long gone, but Jones is back in his no. 11 jersey. His locker is even in the same corner of the clubhouse as it used to be.
"It's really like I never left," he said. "Everything is the same. Things are run the same. It's the same people here. It feels awesome."
Except he did leave. Jones, a career .277 hitter with a .326 OBP, spent two seasons of a three-year deal with the Chicago Cubs before they traded him away to the Detroit Tigers. There, he lasted just a month before being designated for assignment. Then the Florida Marlins gave his a shot, but he lasted only three weeks in that uniform. Overall, it was a dismal 2008 for Jones, who ended the season batting .142 between both clubs.
Most players would call it quits at that point, but Jones wasn't quite ready to hang up his cleats. He spent a month trying to find his swing down in Mexico, where he hit .314 (37-for-118) over 29 games. That was convincing enough for the Cincinnati Reds, who invited him to their camp last spring. There, he mangled his way to an .089 average in 45 spring at bats.
That's when he decided to give baseball one last try in the independent league, where batted .311 with five home runs and 25 RBIs in 119 at-bats. Hence, the invitation to Ft. Myers.
So what can we expect from Jones this season if he makes his way up from the minors? Will it be a hell of a comeback or a complete disaster?