Notes: Jones' return warmly received

Notes: Jones' return warmly received

MINNEAPOLIS -- Former Twins outfielder Jacque Jones, now with the Chicago Cubs, returned to the Metrodome on Friday night to a loud, warm reception from Twins fans during the pregame announcement of the lineup. Jones played the previous seven seasons with the club.

"It's nice to see Jacque," said manager Ron Gardenhire. "Same guy -- he always has a smile."

Jones, who twice hit over .300 with the Twins, had a rough start with Chicago.

Two games into May, Jones was hitting just .219 with four home runs and 10 RBIs. Jones has been a heavy target of boos from Cubs fans and had a baseball thrown at him from the stands at Wrigley Field.

"It's not, 'What have you done for me in the past,' it's, 'What have you done for me lately,'" Torii Hunter said of the culture in Chicago.

"He always had that attitude that he was just going to keep playing. He knew the numbers were going to be there at the end. They wanted him to do it right then and there, instead of just waiting on him to get out of that slump and find his swing."

But Jones is batting .329 in June and had four home runs over a six-game stretch at the end of May and the beginning of this month. He now ranks third on the team in average and second in RBIs.

"Jacque has meant a lot to us," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. "He's played well, he's played very well. You take away his first month or so and this guy would be one of the league leaders. There was a period of adjustment for him, changing leagues, not knowing the pitchers and our ballpark and things."

Morneau's production: Justin Morneau's numbers have been impressive, but he's chasing the club's elites. The first baseman, who leads the Twins with 19 home runs and 61 RBIs, after homering and driving in three during Friday night's game against the Cubs, is on pace for 43 home runs and 139 RBIs this season.

Twins Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew put up 49 home runs and 140 RBIs when he was named the American League's MVP in 1969. In 1984, Kent Hrbek produced 27 homers and 107 RBIs en route to finishing runner-up for the award.

"He's settled into a nice swing," Gardenhire said of Morneau, who has raised his batting average 31 points this month. "Right now he's seeing the ball and using the whole field.

"[Production is] needed by this ballclub, and he's doing a very good job of it."

Eyre family reunion: Willie Eyre and his brother, Scott, who pitches for the Chicago Cubs, decided to plan a special gift for their mother, Peggy, who's attending the Interleague series. The brothers made a jersey -- one side Twins, the other Cubs -- with each of their numbers on the back.

Willie Eyre said he's planning on spending time with his brother and their two families this weekend. And baseball will certainly be a part of their conversation.

"We don't try to avoid it," he said. "We just talk normal. When I talk to him, or he calls me or I call him, we'll ask if you pitched that day and who you faced and what happened."

Rest for Mauer: Gardenhire indicated that catcher Joe Mauer will likely sit out Sunday's contest since it will be a day game. Mauer, who leads the Major Leagues with a .375 batting average entering Friday, may be the designated hitter, although Gardenhire is leaning towards giving him the day off against Cubs left-hander Sean Marshall.

Down on the farm: Outfielder Josh Rabe went 4-for-5 and scored three runs as Triple-A Rochester beat Louisville, 10-2, on Thursday. Starter Mike Smith went 7 2/3 innings, allowing two runs and striking out five. ... Trent Oeltjen hit a game-tying seventh-inning home run, but Double-A New Britain fell to Bowie in the bottom of the ninth.

Coming up: The Twins continue their series against the Cubs on Saturday with Boof Bonser making his sixth start of the season. The rookie goes up against Mark Prior, whom the Twins passed over in the 2001 draft for Mauer, at 6:10 p.m. CT.

Jason Brummond is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.