The only slip-up he had, oddly enough, involved his normally-reliable right arm.
Playing for the Rome Braves in the first game of a weekend rehab assignment, Jones went 1-for-1 with an RBI single and two walks during Rome’s 16-4 loss to Augusta before a crowd of 4,084 at State Mutual Stadium.
Jones, who is recovering from May 26 leg surgery, had only one minor miscue in the game — a throwing error that he committed on a rather routine play in the fifth inning.
Aside from that, the six-time All-Star looked liked his old self. And looked ready to rejoin the Atlanta line-up.
“I was real happy with the way things turned out tonight,” said Jones. “Running was no problem … I didn’t feel the shin or the ankle at all.
“I felt good at the plate, very balanced,” he said.
And as for the errant throw?
“I got a circle change-up grip (on the ball) and threw it right in the ground,” said Jones with a smile.
“Having not played in a couple of weeks, there is a little rust there. But that’s what this (rehab assignment) is for. I’d much rather do it down here than up there.”
Overall, Jones seemed to have full mobility, both when running the bases and making plays at third before leaving the game after the sixth inning.
Jones is scheduled to play for the Rome club again during tonight’s 7 p.m. game against Augusta. (For ticket information, call the Braves at 706-368-9388 or go online to romebraves.com).
Jones said he might also play for Rome on Sunday, although he said he plans to “lobby” against that plan.
“I think the agenda to begin with was (for me) to be here all weekend,” he said, “but I am hearing rumblings (about not rehabbing on Sunday). … I don’t know if they want to see if I can play nine innings; I don’t foresee that being a problem. I could have played nine innings tonight.”
Jones’ successful performance on Friday night provided essentially the only redeeming qualities of an otherwise forgettable game for the last-place Braves, who fell behind 15-2 after the GreenJackets scored five runs in the fourth inning and then added eight more during an epic rally in the fifth.
Rome starter Navery Moore, who was named to the SAL All-Star last week, was charged with seven runs, all earned, on eight hits in 3 2-3 innings. Rome reliever Ernesto Silva also had a rough outing, allowing eight runs (four earned) on seven hits in 1 1-3 innings.
Offensively, Kyle Kubitza had a pair of hits and drove in two runs. Leadoff hitter Tony Mueller also had two hits, as did Will Skinner.
As for Jones, he was able to get two at-bats from the left side, and one from the right (in his last plate appearance).
“It was good to knock the dust off from both sides of the plate,” he said. “The last guy I faced was bringing it up there pretty good, and it was good to see that.”
Jones accounted for the game’s first run with an RBI single in the first inning.
Batting left-handed, Jones jumped on the first pitch he saw and connected for an opposite-field single that enabled Kubitza to score easily form third.
“I was going to swing at anything close,” said Jones, “because trying to get my timing is the most important thing. And, when I’ve got a guy on third, it doesn’t matter if I am in the Sally League or the big leagues, I am an RBI guy. … I was very happy with the results in that situation.”
Jones then drew a four-pitch walk in his second plate appearance, followed by another walk — on a 3-2 pitch — in his final at-bat.
He said he was pleased with the amount of pitches he saw during the game, and was pleased overall with what he accomplished.
“I felt great out there,” he said.