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A day later, Jones reflects on big league debut

MIAMI -- Veterans John Buck and Willie Bloomquist talked National League strategy with Mariners rookie James Jones on the bench during Friday night's game at Marlins Park.

So when manager Lloyd McClendon inserted Jones into right field for Stefen Romero in the bottom half of the seventh inning, Jones was ready for his big league debut.

"I'm learning from their end to prepare myself every day. Stay in tune with the game, try to keep the rhythm of the game and pay attention to what the other team's trying to do to us," Jones said. "Definitely nervous. It was surreal. Everything looked so big. I started calming down after the first out."

Miami's Giancarlo Stanton led off the seventh inning with a single to right, and Jones gathered the ball. A flyout to left field and a double play ended the frame.

With a runner at second and two outs in the eighth, Jones came up to bat for the first time in a 4-4 ballgame. The 25-year-old chopped a ball over right-hander A.J. Ramos' head and beat second baseman Derek Dietrich's throw for an infield hit. Mike Zunino had to hold at third.

Jones became the 21st Mariners player to collect a hit in his first plate appearance, and the first since Dustin Ackley in 2011. Jones was called up on Wednesday from Triple-A Tacoma.

"I was hoping to get the RBI and get the lead right there, but I was looking for a pitch to hit," said Jones, who will likely send the ball home to his family. "Once I saw it get over the pitcher's head, I knew I had to just haul from there. I was hoping I would beat it, and luckily I did."

Christina De Nicola is a contributor to
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