Since moving to Atlanta before the 1966 season, the Atlanta Braves have relied heavily on their past players and always found room for them in the organization after their playing days come to an end. That tradition continued on Monday as five-time All-Star Andruw Jones returns to the Braves as a special assistant to their baseball operations department. The announcement comes one week after the team planned to induct him into the Braves Hall of Fame.
During his 12 seasons in Atlanta, Jones helped lead the Braves to ten consecutive division titles while winning ten Gold Glove awards. His most memorable moment in a Braves uniform came in Game 1 of the 1996 World Series at Yankee Stadium when he became the youngest player to hit two home runs in his first two at-bats in World Series play as a 19-year-old. Jones eventually became one of the finest center fielders of his generation and peaked in 2005 with a career-best 51 home runs. He finished as runner-up to Albert Pujols for the National League MVP.
Jones will work under general manager John Coppolella and baseball operations president John Hart working with minor league outfielders and assisting the club on the international market. He is currently in Braves’ camp as an instructor for spring training. “I’m excited to be back with the Braves organization,” Jones said. “This is where I began my career and I’m looking forward to working with the young players and watching them develop.” (AJC.com)
Under Hart and Coppolella, the Braves have worked diligently to develop young prospects and explore all avenues of player development. In the last calendar year, the Braves have upgraded their outfield, acquiring Hector Olivera and Ender Inciarte and have Mallex Smith and Braxton Davidson coming through the minor league system as prospects in the coming years. The Braves will play their final season at Turner Field in 2016 before moving to a new ballpark in Cobb County next year.