Jones worked hard this offseason and excited for 2011
After starting 154 games last season with the Pirates –majority at first base, Garrett Jones will be platooning in right field with Veteran Matt Diaz this year. Although this transition will be tough on the 29-year-old, Jones wants what’s best for the team.
“I feel like I am an everyday guy and I want to be an everyday guy, but right now I look at the positives,” Jones said. “As of right now, they feel these guys are going to definitely help the team. They’ve played for good teams and have some years under their belt. They’re also going to help our lineup. With me and [Matt] Diaz switching out in the outfield, it’s going to be good.”
Jones will be the starting right fielder against right-handed starters (.262 average in 2010), Diaz against lefties (.335 career average).
“We’re going with good guys and it’s a good situation,” Jones said. “I’m excited just to be in the lineup still. I’m also going to get more days off, which is going to keep me mentally and physically vigorous. I’m not going to have those mental and physical breakdowns from when you play every day.”
This offseason Jones has been training harder than he has in the past. He hired a speed trainer while focusing on flexibility, feetwork and agility. Jones has also spent more time in the weight room and dropped five to six pounds.
“I think last year I was a little bulky,” Jones said. “I think losing those extra pounds is key for me in the outfield. Physically, I feel great. I feel better than I have ever felt in terms of flexibility and speed. I’m excited for this year.”
“The swing feels great right now,” Jones said. “I’m just looking forward to getting out on the field and playing some games.”