SENDAI – Andruw Jones is hoping he can be an effective addition to the lineup after he was introduced to the press by the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles on Tuesday along with another former New York Yankee Casey McGehee.
Jones, a five-time MLB All-Star, said he hopes to provide the necessary offensive clout to yield home runs for the Pacific League club.
Before the press conference Jones and McGehee paid a visit to Yuriage Junior High School in the city of Natori, Miyagi Prefecture. Jones admitted he was lost for words after witnessing the damage inflicted by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that devastated the Tohoku region.
The 35-year-old Jones, who won 10 consecutive Golden Glove titles between 1998 and 2007, agreed to a one-year deal worth ¥300 million including a signing bonus.
The right-handed hitting Jones will be a welcome addition to the Eagles, whose 52 homers were the fewest in Japan in 2012 and are well stocked with left-handers and switch hitters.
A native of Curacao, Jones played in 94 games last season, batting .197 with 14 home runs.
McGehee, meanwhile, said he wants to do his best at the Sendai-based club to help the region move forward.
McGehee batted .217 with nine homers and 41 RBIs in 318 at-bats last term after being traded to the Yankees from the Pittsburgh Pirates at the July trading deadline. In 2010, he hit .285 with 23 home runs and 104 RBIs with the Milwaukee Brewers.
Outfielder Nyjer Morgan arrived in Japan on Tuesday after agreeing to join the Yokohama BayStars.
The 32-year-old played with Milwaukee last season and said he had been given a sneak preview of what to expect in Japan from having played with outfielder Norichika Aoki at the Brewers.
Morgan told reporters at Narita airport that it was important to learn and watch players’ movement and that this season would be a “rookie” year for him.
Morgan has a .280 batting average in 583 games in the major leagues. He played in 122 games last season.
Morgan is set to bat as No. 3 hitter for the BayStars, who are hoping he will further strengthen the team alongside the likes of Alex Ramirez and Tony Blanco.