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Andruw Jones ready to begin Dominican assignment

December 10, 2008 |  4:48 pm

Andruw Jones avoids a collision as Matt Kemp makes a running catch.

LAS VEGAS -- Dodger outfielder Andruw Jones, who suffered through both a knee injury and his worst season on the field last summer, arrived in the Dominican Republic by private jet Tuesday afternoon, hoping to prove his fitness during a winter league assignment with Aguilas Cibaenas.

Jones was met on the tarmac at the small airport in the central Dominican city of Santiago by former Dodger and Atlanta Braves teammate Rafael Furcal, who lives there and played last season for Aguilas while rehabbing from an injury of his own.

"Really, I don't know what happened," Jones, who hit just .158, striking out 76 times in 75 games, told the Dominican newspaper Listin Diario, which ran a photo of Jones and Furcal. "But I think the injury affected me more mentally than physically."

Jones, who had midseason surgery on the knee last summer, said he expects to make his winter league debut either Thursday, when Agulias plays in Santo Domingo against Escogido, or Friday in a home game in Santiago against the Azucareros.

-- Kevin Baxter

Photo: Andruw Jones avoids a collision as Matt Kemp makes a running catch during a July 25 game against the Washington Nationals. Credit: Lori Shepler / Los Angeles Times