Jason Jones, Starter

After a 2007 season where he seemed to go back and forth from the starting rotation to the bullpen, Jason Jones is happy to finally know that he’ll be taking the ball every fifth day for the Thunder this year.

“I prefer being a starter,” Jones said.

“That routine, and just getting those innings, that’s what I’m looking for.  I don’t mind relieving as opposed to starting, but if I had my choice, obviously I’d choose to be a starter.”

Perhaps partly because of having no set role, and partly due to numbers (Jones was 8-11 with a 3.62 ERA last year), he isn’t mentioned with the other pitching prospects in the system.  But he doesn’t let that affect his attitude coming into a new season.

“I’m just going to do what I can day in and day out,” Jones told me.

“I just want the innings to throw, and to take advantage of them when I get them.  Just make the situation.  You may not always be playing just for the Yankees, you’re playing for all the other teams out there too.  You keep that in the back of your mind.  But what it comes down to is when you get the opportunity to get out there on the mound, taking advantage of it.  That’s what I plan on doing.”

Jones, who is scheduled to make his first start of the season in Altoona today, also seems excited about the team that will be playing behind him.

“I think we still have a good core group of pitchers,” he said.

“Last year, the pitchers were really strong for us.  Obviously, you need runs to win, but we’ve got another good group of pitchers.  Just the coaching staff and the group of guys we have, everybody’s on the same page, and everybody’s a team player around here.  That’s going to carry us a long way this year.”

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

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