Andruw Jones celebrated his 33rd birthday in style on Friday night, slugging two solo home runs, including a walk-off shot in a 7-6 win over the Mariners.
Jones, who reportedly lost 15 to 20 pounds over the winter, is off to a fantastic start in Chicago, batting .293/.408/.756 with six home runs and nine RBI over his first 41 at-bats this season. He’s been a lone early bright spot for an offense that has combined to hit just .219/.302/.386 thus far.
Still on cloud nine following Friday’s win, the resurgent Jones told Dave van Dyck of the Chicago Tribune the following:
“I’m way far from done. I think I can play five more years.”
It’s a nice comeback story and he certainly deserves regular at-bats in the short-term, but don’t look for this success to continue. Recognize that he’s hitting .412/.500/1.118 with four home runs against lefties, as compared to
a meager .208/.345/.500 with two home runs and 10 strikeouts in 24 at-bats against right-handers, consistent with his declining profile since his 41-homer season in 2006. U.S. Cellular Field should prove to be a pretty nice launching pad for him, but chances are he’ll be more useful as a strict platoon player before it’s all said and done.
Free agent right-hander Yovani Gallardo is headed back to the Brewers on a major league deal, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports. No other terms have been reported yet, as the agreement is still pending a physical.
Gallardo, 31, completed a one-year run with the Mariners before getting his $13 million option declined by the team last month. He provided little value during his time in Seattle, pitching to a 5-10 record in 22 starts and putting up a 5.72 ERA, 4.1 BB/9 and 6.5 SO/9 in 130 2/3 innings as both a starter and reliever.
Still, assuming the veteran righty is on the cusp of a comeback, he may as well try for it with his original club. Gallardo last appeared for the Brewers from 2007 to 2014, racking up a cumulative 20.8 fWAR and peaking during the 2010 season, when he earned his first All-Star nomination and Silver Slugger award. This will be his ninth career season with the club.
Even with Gallardo aboard, the Brewers are expected to continue deepening their pitching stores for 2018. With team ace Jimmy Nelson still recovering from shoulder surgery, the club will enter the season with a projected rotation of Gallardo, Zach Davies, Chase Anderson and Junior Guerra, the latter of whom pitched just 70 1/3 innings in 2017 following a right calf strain and shin contusion. Another big name pitcher could help cement Milwaukee’s rotation and keep them competitive for another year, though they don’t appear to have made any concrete moves in that direction so far.