Detroit Tigers relieve pitcher Todd Jones held a closed door meeting with his teammates and coaches the other day to explain his reasons for leaving the team before season’s end. It turns out the pain in his right shoulder that has him on the disabled list is actually a frayed rotator cuff.
Manager Jim Leyland is trying to play down Jones’s departure as though it’s just related to rehabilitation of his shoulder. But it is obvious to anyone who knows Jones that his injuries are more than just physical.
Jones, 40, is an emotional guy. Those tears you see in the clubhouse after a rough outing are not an act. I believe that the last few lackluster performances of his pushed him over the psychological edge. I have no doubt his shoulder is messed up, but his departure from the team is an indication that it is just too emotionally painful for him to hang with a team — and a city — he has so terribly disappointed.
Jones’s early departure is a prelude to his retirement. Whether or not he returns before the season officially ends, his Major League career is over. Even if his physical injuries healed completely, Jones can no longer stand the mental strain and abuse that comes with the job.
Jones will leave Detroit as its all-time save leader with 235 during two stints with the Tigers.
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