This is one of those times when I might ask "do you want the good news first or the bad news".
Okay, here is the good news. The Minnesota Twins are giving veteran major league outfielder a fresh opportunity, following up on a season in which the 34-year-old's only activity was for 28 games in the Atlantic League. Jones, a .277, 165-home run hitter for 1,302 major league games, hit .311 along with five round-trippers and 25 runs batted in for the Newark (NJ) Bears' major league-loaded team for five weeks last June and July. He had slumped to a combined .147 average in 42 combined games with Detroit and Florida in 2008 after playing a minimum of 135 games in each of the previous eight major league seasons.
"He's one of the good, hard-working guys that we've had in this organization and he's one of the guys that helped us become a playoff team," praised Twins General Manager Bill Smith to MLB.com when Minnesota announced the signing of the left-handed hitter to a minor league contract and a major league spring training invitation.
GREG BURKE LET GO BY PADRES
Greg Burke had what seemed to be a solid rookie major league season in 2009, working 46 innings in 48 games and posting a 3-3 record with a 4.14 earned run average. Right-handers hit only .208 against him, but San Diego asked unconditional waivers Tuesday when it needed 40-man roster space after signing Yorvit Torrealba as its likely backup catcher.
It is difficult to imagine Burke will be idle long, because he will play most of 2010 at the age of 27. The right-hander started his pro career with Atlantic City, NJ of the Atlantic League in 2005 (1-2, 3.70 in 25 games), then was inked by the Padres out of a tryout camp the next spring. His climb toward the majors accelerated in Double-A in 2008 and a 3-0, seven-save, 2.25 start in 13 games at Triple-A Portland, OR last season before joining the parent club.