Tigers give show of faith to suspended JaCoby Jones

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News
Tigers infielder prospect JaCoby Jones is in the middle of serving a 50-game suspension.

Detroit — The Tigers expect the 50-game suspension to be an effective wake-up call for young infielder JaCoby Jones, who Baseball America ranks as the Tigers fifth best prospect.

“It’s just a process of a young kid making a mistake and learning,” general manager Al Avila said Saturday during TigerFest. “He’ll get some help and he will bounce back. Hopefully he learns from his mistake and everything will be fine down the road.”

Jones was suspended during the Arizona Fall League for a second violation of minor league baseball’s drug policy. It was a “drug of choice” violation, meaning it was not for performance-enhancing drugs.

Jones played 12 games in the fall, so he still has 38 games left to serve. But the Tigers, who acquired him from Pittsburgh for closer Joakim Soria last July, have invited him to participate in spring training with the major league club.

“He’s allowed to be in spring training, then he will have to do the suspension once the season starts,” Avila said. “He will be there for the extended spring training, as well, so he will play in some games.”

Jones hit .257 with 16 home runs, 80 RBIs and 25 stolen bases last season, playing in Class A and Double A. A shortstop by trade, he was playing third base in the fall league and the Tigers are considering giving him some reps in the outfield.

“We have resources in place to help him and he has a process he needs to go through,” Avila said. “But, as you know, that stuff is private.”