Jones eager to prove he's back

March, 18, 2010
3/18/10
10:53
AM CT
Isaacson By Melissa Isaacson
ESPNChicago.com
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Andruw JonesAP Photo/Jeff ChiuAndruw Jones has been a pleasant surprise for the White Sox this spring.

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- It only seems like Andruw Jones is 40. But that's what happens when, as a 19-year-old, you knock baseball on its backside and everyone remembers.

It was 1996, Braves-Yankees World Series at Yankee Stadium, and the kid with the oddly spelled first name stepped to the plate against Andy Pettitte. If Jones was a phenom -- and indeed, he qualified, having been scouted by Atlanta at 15 and signed at 16 -- then few outside the Braves knew about him before that day.

Pettitte made his mistake with a fastball left a little too far over the plate, and a couple of innings later, Pettitte's replacement, Brian Boehringer, hung a slider. Jones turned on the first and launched a home run high over the left-field wall. The second he blasted over Monument Park, taking Mickey Mantle's place as the youngest player to homer in a World Series and becoming only the second player to hit a home run in his first two Series at-bats.

Ten Gold Gloves and five All-Star teams later, Jones is trying to resurrect his career. After 13 years, it's long enough to dismiss what has happened to him over the past two seasons as a natural downslide, exacerbated by torn cartilage and subsequent surgery during that period.

But "Whatever happened to Andruw Jones?" is not an easy question to answer. And the only question that should matter to the White Sox is whether it's too late to find him.

Read the full story.

Melissa Isaacson

Columnist, ESPNChicago.com
Melissa Isaacson is a columnist for espnW.com, ESPN Chicago and ESPN.com. The award-winning writer has covered Chicago sports for most of her 31-year career, including at the Chicago Tribune before joining ESPN in 2009. Isaacson has also covered tennis since 1986.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Chris Sale
WINS ERA SO IP
9 2.03 110 102
OTHER LEADERS
BAJ. Abreu .292
HRJ. Abreu 29
RBIJ. Abreu 74
RJ. Abreu 51
OPSJ. Abreu .961
ERAC. Sale 2.03
SOJ. Quintana 115