This offseason was a different one for York Revolution outfielder Kennard Jones.
For the first time in seven years, the speedster was not a part of an affiliated organization, thus he worked out on his own in the weight room and hitting off the tee at San Diego State University.
"I watched a lot of baseball and studied a lot of baseball," Jones said Tuesday after the Revolution concluded their first official spring training workout at Sovereign Bank Stadium.
Since signing a pro contract in 2002, Jones was in the Padres and Orioles systems before being released early last season.
The 27-year-old came to York and immediately became one of the team's best players, hitting for average (.333) and power (8 home runs), giving the team a bonafide lead-off hitter. He also is an outstanding center fielder.
He is ready for a successful second year in York, where he said he had a great time in 2008.
"The town really cares about the team," Jones said. "With so many good athletes out there and not enough jobs, I am blessed to have a job," Jones said.
Jones' return, along with fan favorite Matt Esquivel and team MVP Jason Aspito, gives the Revolution one of the Atlantic League's best outfields.
Esquivel was signed by Cleveland in the offseason but was cut after spring training.
After hitting .294 with 13 home runs and 77 RBIs for York last season, Esquivel knew he had a place to play, and Revs director of baseball operations Adam Gladstone was glad to get him back in the fold.
"Obviously, I am still here to try to get a job, but what better place (could I) go?" Esquivel said. "Especially having the year we had last year and with the majority of guys back from that team."
Never made it: Right-hander Steve Green did not make it to spring training in York. He re-signed with the Phillies organization, where he spent 2008 in Class AAA.
The Quebec native posted a 3.09 earned-run average at Lehigh Valley last season, but the blow should be softened with the pending arrival of former Oriole hurler Rick Bauer.
Not here for long: Catcher Kevin Kotch said that he has signed a deal with the Gateway Grizzlies and is slated to report to the Frontier League squad sometime in May.
After playing for three Atlantic League teams last season, Kotch was in camp with York as an extra catcher, which is key with veteran backstop Luis Taveras back home in the Dominican Republic waiting for his visa to clear.
At least Kotch will have some new jewelry to take to Sauget, Ill., home of the Grizzlies. He is slated to receive a championship ring and Rolex watch for being a member of the Somerset Patriots when they won the 2008 Atlantic League title.