Padres Prospect Interview: Geoffrey Jones

Left-hander Geoff Jones re-upped with the Padres this off-season with aspirations of making the big league squad – the only professional team he has ever known. We recently caught up with the reliever to get his latest thoughts.

Talk to us about your decision to Re-sign with San Diego:

Geoffrey Jones: This is obviously my first time through that process so it was a little different for me.

I did want to go into free agency because I had been playing for seven seasons and figured I owed it to myself to see what was out there to see if I could get a Big League invite. It didn't come around but my whole thing with the Padres was that is who I wanted to be with from the beginning of the whole free agency process.

You pitched more innings this year, was this your first full season of health and what were the ailments in previous seasons?

Geoffrey Jones: Absolutely. In '03 I had Tommy John surgery. In the entire '03 season I pitched about a month and a half. I pitched about a month in '04. In reality, I have only been playing for five years because I missed about two with injury.

How do you feel today with a full year of health and how did the year go for you?

Geoffrey Jones: I would sum my year up as my first half I was trying to get the feel for the mound again, throwing every day. I hadn't pitched as many innings in a couple years so I would say I spent the first half of the year trying to get back into it and I felt like at the All-Star break I decided that I was going to quit guarding myself, as far as giving myself excuses, ‘this is my first year back.' It was time for me to turn it on and I felt I pitched really well the second half.

Unfortunately, I broke my hand with two weeks left in the season. I had another injury..almost my first year without injury.

It is fine. It is 100 percent. I am still getting some treatment on it at the complex to break up some scar tissue. That is all cosmetic. It has nothing to do with my hand.

Talk about that time around the all-star break when you decided that it was really up to you to turn it on.

Geoffrey Jones: The way I look at it is it was a mental thing what happened to me in the second half. I remember sitting down with Brian Whitaker talking about it a little bit. He basically called me out on it. He said, ‘Jonesey, I am not trying to test your manhood or anything but you are out there looking like you are pitching scared. What is going on? I have seen you pitch before and you don't throw like that.'

I said right away, ‘I am pitching like a (wimp) out there. I am going on the mound and I am thinking I am defeated.'

In the second half I decided that mentally I am going to win every battle. I think I had two outings in the second half where I probably could have stopped the bleeding sooner than I did. I think I had a six and a five in two innings. Other than that I felt like I found myself again and felt comfortable on the mound.

Was that part of the process that the Padres showed interest in you again?

Geoffrey Jones: The Padres have always been very good to me. When I entered the free agent process – I just got married and am starting a family so I wanted to see what was out there financially. I entered it hoping the Padres would give me something that I thought was fair and they did and I took it.

Do you consider yourself a situational guy?

Geoffrey Jones: I think that is what I am trying to do. I am trying to become a situational lefty. Last year was just seeing guys in the batter's box again. It was doing that and fortunately my manager, Gary Jones, used me quite a bit so it was good for me to get up and face a bunch of hitters to get me going again.

He did use me in a few circumstances as a situational lefty and that is what they are trying to groom me for in the Big Leagues. It wouldn't be a bad job being a Mike Myers.

Did you talk to Harkey about moving on:

Geoffrey Jones: I called Mike the other day and told him congratulations but he is already Big Leaguing me – didn't answer my call.

You had six at bats this year with five K's:

Geoffrey Jones: It is amazing how quickly you can lose the ability to hit a baseball. I haven't had any at bats since high school. I think I had one in Lake Elsinore last year. But, hey man, that one time I didn't strike out I hit it on the screws. That is my only thing that I can come back with and it was a knuckleball pitcher so I could catch up with him. Great swing – just late.

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