The way the Pittsburgh Pirates manager views it, shifting the 6-foot-4 outfielder/first baseman from cleanup to second means more fastballs for Jones to look at, never a bad idea for a player that hit a career-high 27 home runs last year.
Of course, Hurdle allows it could very well backfire. He joked "it's the opening day for second guessing" just hours before the new-look lineup opened the season by managing just three hits in a 3-1 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Monday.
Hurdle is encouraged by the options lifting Jones to second and playing him in right field provides. The club's original idea was to platoon Jones and Gaby Sanchez at first, but Sanchez played so well during spring training — hitting .302 with a team-high four homers — Hurdle wanted to find a way to put Jones and Sanchez on the field at the same time.
The result is perhaps the 6-foot-4 Jones became the tallest No. 2 hitter in baseball, a concept that brought a smile to Jones' face.
"I think that it just shows we're mixing it up a little bit and Clint has confidence in me to hit there and produce there and do the things I need to do," Jones said. "I'm not going to change my game or anything."
That includes continuing to be aggressive even with All-Star center fielder Andrew McCutchen in the on-deck circle. Jones doesn't think his primary focus needs to take pitches or just try to move runners over — typically part of the job description for a player batting second. Just because he's not batting cleanup doesn't mean he has to stop thinking like a cleanup hitter.
"I think I get in trouble when I start taking too many pitches," Jones said. "If I get a good one, I'm going to swing at it."
The key is being selective. Jones hit .271 last year but walked just 33 times. He'd like to increase his .317 on-base percentage and he thinks it should happen if pitchers decide they want to attack him rather than take their chances with McCutchen.
"I'm just going to go up there and try and do damage and drive in runs and create havoc," Jones said.