BALTIMORE—After being held out of last weekend’s series at Tampa Bay, Adam Jones was back in the Orioles’ lineup on Tuesday. Jones was 2-for-4 in the Orioles’ 3-2 loss to the Oakland Athletics.
Although Jones was in the lineup, the question is, for how long? During the three games against the Rays, Joey Rickard played right. John Andreoli started the first two games of the series. Although the 28-year-old Andreoli and 27-year-old Rickard may not qualify as young prospects, the Orioles added DJ Stewart, who began his minor league career playing left field, but moved to right this season.
Stewart, 24, is a left-handed hitter, something the Orioles are short on, and he may take even more playing time away from Jones.
The Orioles have two more games against the A’s, who are chasing Houston for the AL West lead and in firm control of a wild-card berth. Manager Buck Showalter said that he does consider the teams the Orioles are facing when making out his lineup, and wants to be fair for contenders. After the three games against Oakland, the Orioles have three games each against Chicago and Toronto, definite non-contenders, to conclude the homestand. The final 10 games are against New York, Boston and Houston, all playoff teams.
Showalter wouldn’t say how often fans would get to see Jones in what could be his final weeks with the Orioles.
“Adam’s still going to play,” Showalter said. “He’s going to play some games. Certainly going to treat him with the respect he has due. I’ve got a really strong memory about what’s he meant for us through the years.”
However, Showalter says he has a responsibility to the organization to see what players who could be around next year can produce.
“These opportunities are fleeting,” Showalter said.
Alex Cobb, who’s yet to record a win at home for the Orioles, didn’t have a chance against Oakland. Cobb, whose start was pushed back from Sunday to Tuesday because of a blister, exited the game after two innings. Cobb said that the blister was actually closer to a cut.
“It’s turned into something a little bigger,” Cobb said.
“It’s frustrating because I think we did everything we could to give me the opportunity to go out and pitch today. Extra couple days with the off days and paid real good attention to it all week. We know we did everything we could to give it a chance to go the entire game, but there’s really only one way to test it and that’s to pitch in a game.
“Obviously, in the second inning it wasn’t going to hold up the whole time. Felt good the first inning-plus, with my stuff. Was looking forward to going out and competing. It’s fun when you got a team like Oakland that are in a good chase, you like to measure up with them see where you’re at. Unfortunately, wasn’t able to do it.”
With 18 games left, Cobb would have three starts remaining, but he’s not sure when he’ll pitch again, though Showalter predicted he would appear again this year.
”The fact that it’s just a finger, it’s an issue that I’m not trying to push through like a sore elbow or sore shoulder or any muscle type of injury,” Cobb said. “You’re able to push it a little bit more. I don’t have an answer. I don’t know what it’s going to look like in the coming days or what we’re going to be dealing with. We’ll reassess it tomorrow and the goal is obviously to continue to pitch at some point this year. I just don’t know when that will be.”
Cobb pitched two scoreless innings, but Mike Wright allowed three runs in the third.
Jonathan Villar drove in both runs for the Orioles.
Where will starters come from?
Showalter indicated that Josh Rogers, who pitched only 1 1/3 innings in Sunday’s loss at Tampa Bay, won’t start again this season.
“I’m not going to say we’re going to shut him down,” Showalter said. “But he’s not going to figure into the starting plans for the time being. He’s kind of right where we like him to be … I expect to see him pitch again, but probably not as a starter.”
Showalter limited Yefry Ramirez to two innings in relief of Wright because he wants to consider him for a weekend start. Luis Ortiz may get a start this weekend. Ortiz, who made his major league debut in relief on Sept. 7, was in the dugout for the game instead of the bullpen.