OAKLAND, Calif. -- A pair of twenty-something center fielders traded places Monday in the Mariners' organization.

Seattle sent struggling Abraham Almonte to Tacoma and called up James Jones from the Triple-A club.

Almonte started 25 of the Mariners' first 29 games -- all in center field -- but he was batting just .198 with five doubles, one triple, one home run and eight RBIs.

"He struggled for quite a while," Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said of the 24-year-old Almonte before Seattle's 4-2 victory against the Oakland A's. "I don't think it was something that took any of us by surprise. The fact is we believed in him. I still believe in him. I think he's going to be an everyday player at the big-league level. He's not the first player who's had to go back. That's what I told him. Go back, play hard, work hard. When there's a need, you'll be back here."

Jones, 25, was batting .313 with three doubles, one triple, two home runs and eight RBIs in 20 games for Tacoma. Earlier this season, he appeared in one game for Seattle, going 1-for-1 on April 18 against the Miami Marlins in his major league debut. He grounded out as a pinch hitter Monday night in the eighth inning and remained in the game in center field.

"Very talented young man," McClendon said of Jones. "He's been touted for his defense as well as stealing bases. I think he should hit at this level. We'll find out. He's got an opportunity."

McClendon said he kept the left-handed-hitting Jones out of the starting lineup Monday night because he didn't like the matchup against A's left-hander Scott Kazmir.

"He's going to play," McClendon said. "I just didn't want to play him against Kazmir, but he's going to play."

McClendon said he would use Jones primarily against right-handers but also occasionally against lefties, depending on the matchup.

Jones said he made it back to the Mariners faster than he expected, but he used his time at Tacoma to prepare himself.

"It was the same approach," Jones said. "Go out there and play hard, find energy for the team and keep sticking with the approach I have."