HOUSTON -- In advance of arguably the best game of his fledgling career, Mariners rookie center fielder James Jones knocked on the door of Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon seeking advice. He wanted to know how he could continue to improve, what measures he should take.
"I told him to keep doing what he's doing," McClendon said. "Keep studying the way that he's studying and, whatever you do, don't let Robinson Cano out of your sights. He's done a good job of that."
Jones responded to the advice by recording career highs in hits (four) and stolen bases (three) in a victorious series opener against the Astros on Monday night. For an encore, Jones finished 3-for-6 with two RBIs and three runs scored in the Mariners' 13-2 victory on Tuesday night.
Jones is batting .312 (39-for-125) over his last 32 games. His speed is an obvious asset -- he leads all rookies with 17 stolen bases. But Jones continues to make strides at the plate, taking inventory of everything Cano does while slowly gaining confidence by using the entire field.
As he becomes more familiar with American League pitching, the expectation is that Jones will become that much more prolific on the base paths. In the interim, he will keep searching for ways to improve.
"He's special in that respect. He wants to be the best that he can be and I don't think he's motivated by the dollar figure, so to speak," McClendon said. "He's motivated to be the best player that he can be and that's special."