Tigers prospect Jones gets 50-game suspension
DETROIT -- Tigers prospect JaCoby Jones' rise up the organizational ladder is halted. The shortstop received a 50-game suspension from Major League Baseball on Thursday after a second positive test for a drug of abuse.
The suspension includes the rest of the Arizona Fall League, where Jones had been selected for Saturday's Fall Stars Game showcasing the league's top prospects. He had been removed from the Scottsdale Scorpions' lineup earlier on Thursday with an illness, according to a report in the Detroit News. The final 12 games in Scottsdale's season, including Thursday, will count towards Jones' suspension, leaving him to serve a 38-game suspension to begin next year.
The Tigers issued a statement in the wake of the suspension announcement:
"The Detroit Tigers recognize the suspension of JaCoby Jones for violating Minor League Baseball's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program as a measure taken in the best interest of the game, and the ballclub continues to fully support this policy. The Tigers' organization will provide no further comment on Jones' suspension."
Detroit acquired Jones from Pittsburgh in the Joakim Soria trade on July 30. Jones had a three-homer outburst in his third game for Double-A Erie on Aug. 2, and he finished with a .250 average, six homers and 20 RBIs in 37 games for the SeaWolves. Jones finished the season as the Tigers' 10th-ranked prospect, according to MLB.com.
For the year, the 23-year-old Jones batted .257 with 25 doubles, 16 homers and 80 RBIs in 133 games across three stops. He won AFL Co-Player of the Week honors a couple of weeks ago after following up a two-homer game with a 4-for-4 effort for the Scorpions, and Jones entered Thursday batting .280 (14-for-50) with three walks and 17 strikeouts.
Jones' hitting and positional versatility had been expected to give him a chance to land a spot in Major League camp for Spring Training.
The Arizona Fall League announced Thursday evening that Tigers outfield prospect Mike Gerber will replace Jones on the Fall Stars Games roster. The 23-year-old Gerber entered Thursday batting .298 (14-for-47) for Scottsdale, with four doubles, two triples, a home run, 12 RBIs and a stolen base. He is ranked as Detroit's No. 18 prospect.