Jones' parents, Bubba and Mary, sister and three nieces were scheduled to be at Guaranteed Rate Field for Opening Day on Monday. Jones was slated to bat eighth and start in centerfield for the Tigers against the White Sox, but the game was postponed until Tuesday at 2:10 p.m.
Jones was one of seven Tigers on the Opening Day roster for the first time. The others are infielder Dixon Machado, outfielder Mikie Mahtook pitchers Matthew Boyd, Michael Fulmer, Bruce Rondon and Alex Wilson.
“I feel good, I feel normal right now,” Jones said Monday, before batting practice was canceled because of rain.
“I feel good. I feel like I had a good spring and I came into the fall working on my approach and had a good spring. For them to put me on the team Opening Day gives me a lot of confidence to know they have faith in me to get the job done in centerfield and play good defense.”
Jones, as he said last year when he was brought up from Triple-A Toledo, wants to be a spark for the team.
“I’m the youngest and I like to be energetic,” said Jones, who turns 25 on May 10.
Mahtook was scheduled to hit sixth and start in rightfield on Monday.
“You feel like you get to be with the guys from the ground up,” Mahtook said of making the 25-man roster. “This is my first Opening Day. It’s a little bit special for me and it’s exciting. Whether you have one or 15 Opening Day starts – any time you start the season it’s exciting.”
Mahtook was supposed to compete for the starting job in center. With J.D. Martinez likely out for all of April with a sprained right foot, Mahtook is slated to platoon in right with Tyler Collins.
“You go out there and you do your job,” Mahtook said. “I’ve played a lot of rightfield in the past. I’ve played a lot of center, I’ve played a lot of left. I’m comfortable in all three of those spots. Whether I’m in center or I’m in right, it doesn’t really matter to me. I’m going to go out there and play the same way and do everything I can to help us win.”
Mathook, 27, played center as a junior at LSU when Jones was a freshman starting at second base.
“It’s the first time playing with a guy I actually played with in college,” Mahtook said. “It’s exciting. JaCoby is a great, great player.
“He’s older. He just knows more now. He’s not a wide-eyed 18-year-old from a small town in Mississippi anymore. He’s been around. ... He’s been a big prospect and he’s had some success. He’s matured in that way.”
Machado, 25, also expressed excitement about making the Opening Day roster.
“I’m in the big leagues from the beginning,” he said. “It feels unbelievable.”
Machado has played in 32 games over the past two seasons for the Tigers. He was out of options and the Tigers didn’t want to risk losing him to another team.
“You gotta understand that sometimes it’s not your moment,” Machado said. “There’s not the opportunity for you. I’m glad that I’m here. I just want to try to help the team whatever I can.”
Machado said he found out he made the team while playing in Sarasota in spring training last week. He told Ausmus until he learned made the team, he wasn’t sure.
“Since the beginning, in my mind I was going to make this team,” Machado said. “I always keep it that way. If you start thinking, ‘OK, what (are) they going to do with this guy…”
“I just tried to keep it simple. Be positive. That’s the best thing you can do.”
Machado said he spoke to veteran Omar Infante about what he needed to do to stay prepared when he knows he won’t be playing on a daily basis.
Machado said Infante told him to just practice hard all the time, otherwise when he does get in games, things will be too fast.
“I didn’t ask him at the beginning,” Machado said. “It’s kind of weird, we’re fighting for the same spot.
“I asked him the last day.”
Notebook: Ausmus said Monday there was nothing new to report regarding J.D. Martinez.
|Tigers outfielder Mikie Mahtook bats during the Tigers' exhibition win over Florida Southern, 8-0, on Feb. 23, 2017, at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium.|
(Photo: Kirthmon F. Dozier DFP)
Live blog: Tigers-White Sox postponed
After a 100 percent chance of rain come to fruition, the Tigers and White Sox will take their Opening Day showdown to tomorrow at 2:10 p.m.
Justin Verlander and Jose Quintana are still scheduled to start for their teams.
Tigers, White Sox in an opening day rain delay
The Detroit Tigers were scheduled to open the season in Chicago Monday at 4:10 p.m., but rain has dampened the Opening Day excitement.
The White Sox announced the game won't start on time due to inclement weather and no projected start time has been given.
Follow the action throughout the Tigers-White Sox game, weather permitting, with live updates by Geoff Robinson of The Detroit News.
TIGERS VS. WHITE SOX
When: Monday, 4:10 p.m.
Where: Guaranteed Rate Field, Chicago
TV / radio: FSD / 97.1 FM
Pitching matchup: RHP Justin Verlander vs. LHP Jose Quintana
1. Ian Kinsler, 2B
2. Nicholas Castellanos, 3B
3. Miguel Cabrera, 1B
4. Victor Martinez, DH
5. Justin Upton, LF
6. Mikie Mahtook, RF
7. James McCann, C
8. JaCoby Jones, CF
9. Jose Iglesias, SS
WHITE SOX LINEUP
1. Tyler Saladino, 2B
2. Tim Anderson, SS
3. Melky Cabrera, LF
4. Jose Abreu, 1B
5. Todd Frazier, 3B
6. Cody Asche, DH
7. Avisail Garcia, RF
8. Omar Narvaez, C
9. Jacob May, CF