Jones jacks first homer as a Dodger
Center fielder breaks through in game against former team
ATLANTA -- For his defense alone, Andruw Jones has been the Dodgers everyday center fielder, even through a season-opening slump. Now he's starting to hit.
He slugged his first home run as a Dodger Saturday and added two walks. His .182 batting average doesn't sound like much, but that's an 82-point gain this week with a modest five-game hitting streak (6-for-15).
"He has a lot more discipline," said manager Joe Torre. "He's swinging better and an indication of that is he's taking walks. He's getting a much better look at it."
Jones said it didn't matter to him that the home run came in his old home park, Turner Field.
"It just feels good to hit a home run, period," he said. "When you're not feeling good about yourself at the plate, you try too hard. I just want to feel good at the plate and win."
Jones said his father gave him a batting tip.
"He just said, 'Don't swing so hard, you're strong enough that you should just make contact,'" Jones said. "You swing hard because the ball's coming fast and you have to react fast to get the bat through the zone. Your dad tells you a lot of stuff. He's seen you play since you were a little kid, seen you develop into a man. He's seen all you can do. He told me to just throw the bat at the ball."
Greeted in his return to Atlanta on Friday night with cheers that turned to jeers, Jones received a kinder reception on Saturday, although he said he's gotten good at tuning it out.
"You hear the cheers, you hear the boos," he said. "You just blank the stuff out," he said. "You hear all kinds of things."
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.