ATLANTA -- When a slimmed-down Andruw Jones came to the plate during Friday night's exhibition game at Turner Field, he heard some cheers from Braves fans who remember everything he provided during his long tenure as their Gold Glove Award-winning center fielder.
Jones has experienced some frustrations since leaving the Braves at the end of the 2007 season. But as he prepares for his first season with the White Sox, he has already shown manager Ozzie Guillen that he still has some of the skills that he possessed when they were teammates in Atlanta.
"Andruw will be in the lineup against lefties," Guillen said. "I don't know where. It can in the outfield or as a designated hitter. I don't know where, but I'd rather have him in the outfield when he's playing. I don't want to call him a backup or a fourth outfielder. He's another outfielder."
While hitting .326 and compiling a .543 slugging percentage in the 46 at-bats he had compiled entering Friday night's game, Jones has at least provided indication that he could prove better than he's been while combining to hit .207 in the 1,062 at-bats he's amassed over the past three seasons.
Still, with an outfield mix that includes Carlos Quentin, Juan Pierre, Alex Rios and Mark Kotsay, who has also been a pleasant surprise during the exhibition season, Guillen understands that it will be challenging to give all of them regular playing time.
"The thing about this team is I have the flexibility to change the lineup because I have Andruw and Kotsay," Guillen said. "I have five guys in the outfield who can rotate in the DH spot. It just depends how they're swinging the bat and how they're playing."
Jones started in center field on Friday night and appeared to have some of the range that he seemed to lack when he started to gain weight during his final years in Atlanta.
"I think the way that Andruw Jones played in Spring Training, he should start," Guillen said. "But Kotsay, the same way. Everybody in the outfield has had a pretty good Spring Training."