Jones, NL East-leading Marlins agree to contract
Jones, who hasn't faced live pitching since May 4, expects to spend two or three days with Florida's extended spring program in Jupiter before joining the major league club later this week, said his agent, Damon Lapa.After Jones hit .165 in 24 games with Detroit to begin the season, the Tigers designated him for assignment on May 5. Detroit released Jones on May 13, allowing him to negotiate with clubs as a free agent. Detroit is responsible for the bulk of Jones' $6 million contract this season, while Florida will pay him the pro-rated portion of the minimum salary over the next 4½ months.
"This was a good fit for Jacque, with a first-place club and a young team," Lapa said. "There are a lot of positives in Florida."Jones, 33, is a career .278 hitter with 165 home runs in 10 seasons with Minnesota, the Chicago Cubs and Detroit. The Marlins have used a combination of Josh Willingham and Luis Gonzalez in left field, but Willingham went on the disabled list with a back injury on May 3 and may not return until June. Cody Ross and Alfredo Amezaga, who have split time in center field, are batting a combined .209 (39-for-187). Jones has played all three outfield positions in the big leagues and gives the Marlins another leadoff option now that the team has moved shortstop Hanley Ramirez from the top spot to No. 3 in the batting order. Jerry Crasnick covers Major League Baseball for ESPN.com.
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