NEW YORK -- Garrett Jones was an ex-Yankee for five days, and in those five days he did what a lot of ex-Yankees do. He grew a beard.
But then came the phone call from general manager Brian Cashman, the one that goes something like, "Come back, Garrett; we missed you," so the first thing Jones did was go out and buy razor blades. The second thing he did was sign a free agent contract to return to the Yankees for the remainder of the season.
And if there was a player happier to be a Yankee in the home clubhouse, it was probably Luis Severino, the rookie right-hander who was called up to start against the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday night.
"It feels good again. No, it feels great, man," said a clean-shaven Jones. "A lot of mixed emotions, man. It was tough for a few days, but everything worked out. I'm extremely happy to be back."
Jones' brief exile from the club was made tougher by the fact that it happened in Chicago, where Jones' in-laws live. "I was sad there for a while, just sitting at my father-in-law's house," he said. "It's actually right down the street from U.S. Cellular. I could see the park out his window. I had to watch the games and cheer everybody on. I watched those guys and wished I was in the dugout to be able to high-five them and congratulate them and all that stuff."
Jones can do that again, now that the Yankees' one and only trade-deadline acquisition, Dustin Ackley, is on the disabled list with a herniated disk. The loss of Ackley, who plays many of the same positions as Jones, created a vacancy that only Jones could fill.
"It made sense. It was a good fit," he said. "They really wanted me back and it was hard to say no. My heart was still here with all the teammates and the coaching staff and the fans and everybody. I had to come back and wanted to contribute and help this team win."
Jones, who batted .215 with five home runs and 17 RBI in limited duty before being designated for assignment on July 31, now assumes the backup roles the Yankees acquired Ackley for -- first base and the outfield. And, having opted for free agency rather than accept a minor-league assignment, Jones says there are no hard feelings with Yankees management.
"Being a bench guy and not being an everyday guy, you know that's always in the back of your head that hey, a move can happen or they can get rid of you. It's part of the business, really," he said. "It was my turn, my time. I guess I was that guy. Everybody was healthy at the positions I played. Nothing was personal. It just turned out it was my card to be pulled."