Ausmus sees bright future for prospect Jones

Tigers manager says 3B/OF could be 'very talented Major League player'

Ausmus sees bright future for prospect Jones

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Tigers manager Brad Ausmus believes that prospect JaCoby Jones has a promising future, whether it be at third base or in center field. The versatile 24-year-old Jones, who had only 15 plate appearances before Thursday, capitalized on his lone at-bat against the Mets when he delivered a home run over the left-field wall at First Data Field.

The homer, Jones' first this spring, gave the Tigers a one-run lead in the top of the ninth inning before the Mets scored in the bottom of the frame to forge a 5-5 tie.

"He crushed that one," Ausmus said of Detroit's No. 9 prospect per MLBPipeline.com. "If you put it in his swing path, he's going to hit it hard. He's a talented athlete. He's just polishing his skills, quite frankly. He's got the potential to be a very talented Major League player, but even the best Major League players usually require some honing of their skills prior to the big leagues."

That statement could mean that Jones might likely begin the season at Triple-A Toledo, but his versatility and ability to play center field, at which an ongoing search for a solid starter is taking place this spring, also could provide Jones -- who's hitting .375 -- with an early callup.

Worth noting

Andrew Romine started at shortstop against the Mets in place of injured Jose Iglesias, who is day to day with a bruised neck he sustained Tuesday against the Phillies. Romine went 2-for-3 to raise his batting average to .375.

Third baseman Nicholas Castellanos continued his hot spring start with an RBI double on a line drive to left field that scored Romine in the sixth for the Tigers' first run. Four of his six spring hits have been doubles.

Castellanos' RBI double

Steve Dorsey is a contributor to MLB.com and covered the Tigers on Thursday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.