Jones hoping for larger role with Yanks

Jones hoping for larger role with Yanks

Jones hoping for larger role with Yanks
TAMPA, Fla. -- Andruw Jones said that he is running better after having arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in October, and the 10-time Gold Glove Award winner is hoping it leads to a bigger role with the Yankees.

The 34-year-old said he is ready to attack left-handed pitching as part of the Yankees' DH platoon with Raul Ibanez, but he also hopes to be more of a defensive option this year.

"I feel great," Jones said. "I've been running a lot and the goal was to get back into playing shape and be lighter and go out and play. If they say, 'Hey, Andruw, we need you to go in there in the third inning or the fourth inning.' I'll be ready to go."

Jones said the surgery repaired a small meniscus tear that forced him to repeatedly have his knee drained, limiting his ability to play the outfield.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi acknowledged that he had to check on Jones' knee at times last year, but said that he still considered Jones a strong defensive option when he was in the field.

"I felt very comfortable when he was out there," Girardi said. "You look at Andruw and the defense that he has played over his years; maybe he's not what he was when he was 24 years old, but he still really knows how to play the outfield."

Jones said that it would have been tough for him to get much more playing time over Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson and Nick Swisher last year, but that he never doubted his ability to help defensively.

"I take a lot of pride in that," Jones said. "I have a lot of things to do to get the job done in the outfield. I've been playing for a while, really. I never doubted that if someone needed me, I could go out there and play for a month or whatever."