Results tagged ‘ Mike Jones ’

Former first-rounder Jones retires

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It was fitting that 17-month-old Mike Jones Jr. fussed in the background while dad, a former first round pick whose path to the Major Leagues was blocked by injuries, discussed a future away from the pitcher’s mound. 
“I’m retiring from the game of baseball,” Jones said via telephone from Boston, where his family has begun a new phase. “I gave it everything I had. There just wasn’t much need out there for a 27-year-old broke-down, struggling Minor League pitcher, former first-rounder or not.”
So he’ll transition to a new role as Mr. Mom. Jones’ wife is Comcast SportsNet New England reporter and anchor Nicole Zaloumis, who used to cover the Mariners as part of her duties with FSN Northwest. She gave birth to Mike Jr. in September 2009, the day after dad returned home from Triple-A Nashville.
Jones was back at Triple-A last June and topping out at 93-94 mph — though he stopped paying attention to the radar gun long ago — when the Brewers released him to clear a needed roster spot. He returned home to Huntsville, Ala. and stayed in baseball shape for about a month and a half. No one called. 
So Jones took a break and began throwing again in October, hopeful that an organization would show interest. There wasn’t any. 
Around New Year’s Day, Jones decided to call it quits. In parts of nine Minor League seasons punctuated by major shoulder and elbow injuries, Jones was 31-32 with a 3.75 ERA.
“There are a lot of reasons to go, but the main reason is we’ve got a growing family now,” said Jones, who will turn 28 in April. “My wife and I agreed that day care Monday through Friday is not the way we were raised, and it’s not the way we would like to go about things. 
“The way my career was going, I wasn’t happy. I got tired of getting ready for the season and having it end in disappointment and frustration, which is the way at least the last three or four years have been. Yes, I had bright moments, and things to be encouraged about, but at the end of the day I never bargained for three surgeries. I didn’t want to be on the long road I was on for the last seven or eight years. The odds were stacked against me, and it seemed like all signs pointed to retirement and moving on with my life.”
For more about Jones’ future plans, including some front office aspirations, check out Brewers.com later today.
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Brewers release former first-rounder Jones

The Brewers on Saturday released former first-round Draft pick Mike Jones, a right-handed pitcher lauded for a smooth delivery whose career was nonetheless derailed by arm injuries. 

Jones, the 12th overall pick in the 2001 First-Year Player Draft, was 1-1 with a 2.93 ERA in 19 games for Double-A Huntsville and Triple-A Nashville this season. The Brewers needed his roster spot for left-hander Sam Narron, who returned from attending the birth of a child. 
“His performance was OK, we just have one too many guys right now,” assistant general manager Gord Ash said of Jones. 
Jones received a $2.075 million signing bonus after the ’01 Draft but only pitched two healthy seasons. He was limited to 17 starts in 2004 before undergoing major shoulder surgery in 2004 followed by Tommy John elbow surgery in 2007. 
Jones’ career exemplifies the hit-or-miss nature of top Draft picks. Jones followed 2000 top Brewers pick Dave Krynzel, who appeared in the Majors but never stuck, but Jones preceded two Brewers picks who did, in Prince Fielder (2002) and Rickie Weeks (2003).  
“He’s hardworking,” Ash said of Jones. “He could have been a free agent a couple of times but signed back with us. It’s always tough [to part ways] from that point of view. It sounds like he wants to continue to play so we’ll see what happens.
“He would, at times, get into the low 90s [mph]. He just wasn’t able to be consistent in the strike zone.”
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In the Minors: Butler debuts, Jones promoted

Brewers pitching prospect Josh Butler allowed one hit and one walk in two scoreless innings for Class A Brevard County on Monday night in his season debut. Butler, who spent time in the Majors last September with the Brewers, began this year on the disabled list with a right elbow injury. Look for him to move up as his pitch count increases. 

In other Minor League news, the Brewers bumped-up former first-round Draft pick Mike Jones from Double-A Huntsville to Triple-A Nashville to replace Marco Estrada, who was promoted to the Majors. Brevard County’s Nick Green was moved to Huntsville to replace Jones. 
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In the Minors: Jones to AAA; Butler, Rogers to AFL

Some Minor League tidbits from Brewers assistant GM Gord Ash:

- The organization intends to promote former first-round Draft pick Mike Jones to Triple-A Nashville on Monday. It’s a significant milestone for Jones, the 12th overall pick in the 2001 First-Year Player Draft, who has been derailed by shoulder injuries over the years.

Jones had been pitching at Double-A Huntsville and doing, “great, which is why we want to send him to Triple-A,” Ash said. “He wants to go. He has never been over Double-A, so he feels good about it and he deserves the chance.”

Ash has seen Jones pitch three times this season and said the pitcher’s fastball is back up to 93 mph. In 20 starts this season between Class A Brevard County and Huntsville, Jones is 7-5 with a 4.40 ERA and 73 strikeouts versus 32 walks.

- Right-hander Josh Butler, who had been sidelined by an oblique injury, is healthy and will take Jones’ place at Double-A Huntsville. In four Minor League stops this year, including his just-completed rehab stint in the rookie Arizona League, Butler has a 2.87 ERA in 20 appearances, 19 of them starts.

The Brewers acquired Butler from Tampa Bay last season for outfielder Gabe Gross. 

- Teams have until Monday to designate their pitchers for the prestigious Arizona Fall League, but the Brewers intend to make Butler and fellow right-hander Mark Rogers two of their four picks. Another could go to left-hander Zach Braddock, depending on Braddock’s health. He had been sidelined by a shoulder injury, then developed blisters. The shoulder has healed, Ash said, and the blisters are close.

“Butler will be one of then, Rogers will be one,” Ash said. “After that, it’s wait and see what we have, health-wise.”

On the positional side, Brewers GM Doug Melvin told MLB.com on Saturday that the team intends to send outfielder Lorenzo Cain, infielder Taylor Green and catcher Jonathan Lucroy to the AFL.

- The Brewers considered promoting Rogers, the fifth overall pick in the 2004 Draft, from Class A Brevard County but opted against it. Rogers has also been derailed by shoulder problems, but Ash saw him firing 98 mph fastballs during a visit this summer.

“We’ll let him have a full, good year there,” Ash said. “We’re trying to extend his pitch count. He was at 50; now he’s up to 65. He’s pretty impressive. Ninety-eight [mph] with good secondary stuff. And he’s feeling good about himself, which is the important thing.”

- The Brewers will lose a number of Minor League players on Sept. 1 to the Baseball World Cup in Europe, Ash said. Among the participants are Canada’s Brett Lawrie, Jim Henderson, John Axford and Adam Stern, Puerto Rico’s Martin Maldonado and Efrain Nieves and The Netherlands’ Shawn Zarraga. Canada and the Netherlands play their first-round games in Sundbyberg, Sweden, and Puerto Rico begins in Barcelona. 

Outfielder Jason Bourgeois, promoted to Milwaukee this week, was under consideration for the U.S. entry, but his call-up makes him ineligible.

- Partly because of those losses, and partly because the Brewers have a number of players coming back from injury, the team will make very few Sept. 1 call-ups. The only sure thing is that the Brewers will promote an extra catcher, Ash said.
 

Updated: Melvin on Jeffress' demotion

Thanks to the guys at Brewerfan.net for noticing that the Brewers demoted 21-year-old right-hander Jeremy Jeffress, universally considered Milwaukee’s top pitching prospect, from Double-A Huntsville to Class A Brevard County.

Jeffress has been completely out of whack in his last four starts, allowing 19 earned runs over 11 1/3 innings (that’s a 15.08 ERA for those scoring at home) and issuing 21 walks versus nine strikeouts. Compare that to Jeffress’ first four starts of the year, in which he allowed only four earned runs in 16 innings (2.25 ERA), with 12 walks and 22 whiffs.

Here’s what Doug Melvin had to say about the move on Wednesday: “There’s nothing wrong with him physically. He’s in a slump, and it’s better to go to a level where he can have some success. You try to put people in a position where they can have success and gain confidence back. He’s still young. Last year, when we moved him up, he never had a year in A-ball. It goes back to pushing guys before they accomplish the level.”

Mike Jones, who used to hold the “top pitching prospect” title before a series of arm injuries derailed his career, took Jeffress’ spot at Huntsville. Jones, who turned 26 last month, was 4-0 with a 4.06 ERA in seven starts at Brevard County.

Melvin said Jones has been clocked at 90-91 mph on his fastball and that he had altered his delivery. When he was drafted, Jones threw 95 mph with a slow, smooth motion. With his velocity down because of the injuries, he has shortened his motion to keep hitters off-balance.

Former No. 1 pick Jones was offered release

A couple of Minor League notes, courtesy of Brewers GM Doug Melvin:

–The team gave oft-injured former No. 1 pick Mike Jones the option of
starting another year at Class A Brevard County or taking his release,
and he wanted to keep pitching. Jones, the 12th overall pick in the 2001 Draft, will turn 26 on April 23 and has been dogged throughout his pro career by shoulder and elbow injuries. Fellow star-crossed former first-round
pick Mark Rogers should also begin the year at Brevard County.

 — Club officials had considered assigning Wisconsin native Vinny Rottino to Double-A Huntsville so he could play third base every day, but they thought it might upset him. They were happy when Rottino brought up the idea himself.

– Playing time at Huntsville opened up for Rottino because prospect Taylor Green is “taking longer than we thought” to return from offseason wrist surgery, Melvin said. The Brewers don’t expect him back until June, and Green may be asked to return to the Arizona Fall League at the end of the season.

– Another Wisconsin native, right-handed pitcher R.J. Seidel, is out for the year with a knee injury. He slipped on some ice during the winter and “tore up” his knee, Melvin said, and underwent surgery. Fellow pitching prospects Zach Braddock and Alex Periard will also miss the start of the season with injuries. Periard was sidelined all spring by a sore right shoulder, but Melvin was not sure of the nature of the left-hander Braddock’s injury, but he did have offseason surgery. Both Braddock and Periard should be able to pitch in 2009.

– The Triple-A Nashville Sounds roster is available here. The Class A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers roster is available here. I have not seen rosters for Huntsville or Brevard County just yet.

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