ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.—For the second straight game, Adam Jones wasn’t in the Orioles’ starting lineup Saturday night against Tampa Bay. Jones, who for years has insisted he wanted to play every day, isn’t used to being a healthy scratch, but he says he isn’t upset.
“It’s a great opportunity for some guys to get some big league experience,” Jones said. “It’s good to see some guys get big league experience, get into some games, get into some action. I’ve shown what I can do, so it’s good to, if you’re going to move forward with the new future, so right now is no time like the present to get them some at-bats.”
Jones, who’s batting .285 with 14 home runs and 55 RBIs, has played in 128 of the Orioles’ first 141 games.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Jones, who moved from center field to right field after the promotion of Cedric Mullins on Aug. 10, hasn’t objected to the move.
“Want to see some other guys,” Showalter said. “I talked to Adam, he knows what’s going on. It’s been a while since he missed some games being healthy, so a little different territory for him, but I think he understands what’s going on. ”
Mullins started in center for the Orioles while John Andreoli was in left and Joey Rickard in right.
“Adam is a good teammate, a good pro,” Showalter said. “He’s really well respected…I want to treat him with the respect that he has due. This is a guy who is going to be in the Oriole Hall of Fame one day. He understands what we are trying to do as an organization. He’s a smart guy. It’s not like he’s not going to play the rest of the year.”
Jones acknowledged it’s a difficult time for him.
“Of course, but at the same time I’m a pro about it and I want to see these guys succeed, and I’m pushing for everybody when they get their chance,” he said “Right now is a great opportunity for three or four guys to get some at-bats going down the stretch.”
Showalter believes the younger players understand.
“They know that Adam plays for us almost every day,” Showalter said. “I hope they’re perceptive enough to know I’m getting a rare opportunity here, I better do what I can do. It’s not always going to be that way. It’s important. There’s some things we hope to accomplish between now and the end of the year, some of that will be with Adam in the lineup. That’s what I hope they perceive.”
As a free agent at the end of the season, Jones’ future is uncertain, just as it’s uncertain if the Orioles want him to return.
“I don’t think anybody knows what that message is in terms of what direction it’s going,” Jones said. “All I know is that I’m here and I’m going to finish out the rest of the year. I can only control certain aspects of what I can control, but I’ll do it with a smile.”