Cardinals' Jones Ready To Run In 2010
ST. LOUIS — If Daryl Jones
proved what he was capable of doing in his breakthrough 2008, then his 2009 campaign underscored what gets his game going.
He needs his speed.
"My legs," Jones said. "My being a speed guy, if I don't have my legs it takes a lot away from my game. It doesn't make sense to have speed if you're not going to use it all the time."
Jones, a 22-year-old outfielder, will test his legs in his first big league spring training this year. An offseason addition to the 40-man roster, he completed his first full campaign at Double-A and a turn in the Arizona Fall League last season.
The Cardinals' top position player prospect, Jones is only one year removed from a .316/.407/.483 run in 2008 that earned him the organization's player of the year award. Jones' refined eye at the plate and his feel for baserunning remained his signature skills in 2009, though his ascent to Double-A was complicated by chronic knee injuries.
Selected for the Futures Game—which was held last summer at St. Louis' Busch Stadium—Jones took some time off before that game to get his knees healthy enough to play. He appeared in the game, but couldn't stay on the field when he returned to Springfield.
He had to run through both tendinitis in the knees and a knee sprain, and eventually both left his game rundown.
From 2007 to 2008, Jones stole a total of 46 bases, and he openly wondered this winter if he could steal more. Still maturing, his power could improve. But he knows that speed is his marketable skill, and in his first exposure to the big league coaches he has an idea what he, when healthy, can flash.
"I'm going in there, basically," he said, "to showcase."
• Among the non-roster invites who attended their first big league spring training are outfielder Tyler Henley
, who had a .303/.367/.482 breakout in Double-A last season, and 2007 first-round pick Pete Kozma
, a shortstop who finished last season in Double-A.
• Five years after being fired as the big league coach and enrolling himself in a recovery program for alcoholism, Mitchell Page
is back with the Cardinals. Page, an accomplished hitting coach, will take over the role with low Class A Quad Cities.