05/12/2003 7:31 PM ET
Jones named AL Player of Week
Left fielder earns award for second time in his career
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
2003 Player of the Week winners
MINNEAPOLIS -- Two days ago, hot-swinging left fielder Jacque Jones was
miffed about not being in the Twins' starting lineup against Red Sox
knuckleballer Tim Wakefield.
On Sunday, he was giving Ron Gardenhire light-hearted grief while the
manager was doing pregame interviews in Minnesota's dugout.
"You're not happy when you don't play. You're not happy when you do,"
"It's a crap shoot," Jones playfully fired back as he took off for the
This season, Jones has rarely come up snake eyes. He went on to collect
three hits with two RBIs vs. Boston Sunday night in a 9-8 Twins
victory. It capped a week in which he batted an American League best .560 with
two homers and seven RBIs.
On Monday, Jones was named the Pepsi AL Player of the Week for the
second time in his career.
"It's pretty cool," said Jones, who entered Monday's game with three homers
and 18 RBIs and a .353 average that is second best in the AL.
Even though he missed the one start, Jones had a Major League best 14
hits, tied for the league best with 10 runs and led the AL with a .560
on-base percentage. He also had a .960 slugging percentage.
When Jones received the letter informing him of his newest honors, it only
served to give Gardenhire more ammunition about his decision to rest
his best hitter.
"I said 'see, if I let you face Wakefield two times last week, you
wouldn't have been Player of the Week,'" Gardenhire said.
Jones batted .300 with 27 homers and 85 RBIs in 2002 and earned a new
two-year contract, signed during the winter. Since inking the deal,
Jones has been more relaxed and easygoing. It's carried over onto the
This season, pitchers have been offering Jones more challenging
breaking pitches than fastballs. He's been trying to let himself and his bat
go with the flow.
"I'm just taking what they give me," Jones said. "If they give me
something in the zone, I've got a chance to hit it. I'm
being more aggressive and taking what they're giving me and trying to put
the ball in play."
Although Jones has hit well throughout the first month and a half of
2003, it's no coincidence that his torrid clip of last week happened when
the Twins went 5-1 for the week.
The club credits Jones, who is the Twins' leadoff hitter. Minnesota
hitters struggled to make anything happen in April, but have 120 hits in
May and a team average of .321 for the month.
"It all starts with Jacque," Twins first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz
said. "It always will. He's the spark plug that makes us go."
"When he gets up and gets a big base hit, it excites the other guys,"
Gardenhire said. "He tries to run around the bases and that gets
everybody into the flow early in the game and we go from there. Hitting is
contagious. We all know that."
The highlight of Jones' week was a 5-for-5 night with two homers
Tuesday vs. Tampa Bay. The five hits tied a career high.
Jones previously won Player of the Week honors June 9, 2002. For
winning the award, he received a Tourneau luxury watch.
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com.
This report was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or
"It all starts with Jacque. It always will. He's the spark plug that makes us go."
-- Doug Mientkiewicz