Jones plans to meet with An­ge­los again in off­sea­son

Cen­ter fielder look­ing to ad­vo­cate for play­ers

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - SPORTS - By Ed­uardo A. Encina

ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. – Ori­oles cen­ter fielder who has likely played his last game of the season, looked to the fu­ture be­fore Satur­day’s game, say­ing he plans to meet with man­ag­ing part­ner again this off­sea­son.

Jones, 32, said he’s feel­ing bet­ter phys­i­cally de­spite not play­ing since last Sun­day be­cause of gen­eral leg sore­ness, but likely won’t play to en­sure he will go into the off­sea­son with­out in­jury. Even be­fore Jones — who has played at least 147 games in seven of the past eight sea­sons — was shelved, he ap­peared to be in ob­vi­ous dis­com­fort while leg­ging out balls in the out­field gaps.

“I just think at this point me trying to push it wouldn’t be the best for my be­half,” Jones said. “The last home­s­tand I re­ally pushed it and tried to get in the lineup ev­ery day for the fans in the final home­s­tand. At the end of the day, I don’t want to go limp­ing into the off­sea­son. The last few years I’ve been able to go into the off­sea­son healthy and strong and be able to get stronger, so I think this is the same in­stance and I don’t want to push it and hurt my­self.” Ori­oles man­ager

said Jones has been deal­ing with more than just leg sore­ness.

“There’s a lot of stuff,” Showal­ter said. “It’s just not some leg sore­ness. A lot of it has to do with the turf. … I’ve talked many times to Adam over the last year or two that these are things we need to back off of, and was did some this year. But his adren­a­line some­times gets in the way and it’s up to me to be that voice of rea­son.”

Jones has cam­paigned An­ge­los to keep core play­ers over the pre­vi­ous two off­sea­sons, push­ing for the Ori­oles to re-sign first base­man and re­liever

two win­ters ago and then again to keep des­ig­nated hit­ter

last off­sea­son. “This off­sea­son, I think I’ll be an ad­vo­cate; there’s a lot of things,” Jones said. “A lot of things that need to be done. We’ve got a lot of money com­ing off the books this off­sea­son. We also have a lot of ques­tion marks after next year, so I’m going to get away from this game and re­cal­cu­late how I ap­proach Mr. An­ge­los.”

Jones said he would not cam­paign An­ge­los for a con­tract ex­ten­sion. Jones, third base­man

and re­liev­ers and are all el­i­gi­ble for free agency after the 2018 season.

“I’m not going to ad­vo­cate for any­thing,” Jones said. “I just don’t think you can go to the owner and say, ‘Mr. An­ge­los, I would like this.’ Nah, that doesn’t work. I think ev­ery­body would do that if it worked that way. I think the thing is — they know I’m here through­out next year. There’s nothing I can do about that part, but be­yond that, it’s up to them.”

Know­ing the team faces a de­ci­sion as to whether sell off parts to get prospects for the fu­ture, Jones said he’d be against that, want­ing to make one more run at a cham­pi­onship with the cur­rent core.

“I would not be an ad­vo­cate to re­build and all that stuff,” Jones said. “I’m only get­ting older. I want to win. I think you throw all your cards out there next year and see what you’ve got.”

Asked whether this season — in which he has a .787 OPS, his best since 2013 — was the most phys­i­cally chal­leng­ing of his ca­reer, Jones said grind­ing through the 2012 season, the Ori­oles’ first play­off season in 15 years, was more tax­ing, espe­cially in Septem­ber.

“We were fight­ing for that sec­ond wild-card spot and I didn’t take any days off that whole year, so I think after that year I was ex­hausted phys­i­cally and men­tally,” Jones said. “As I’ve got­ten older, I’ve learned how to adapt to the phys­i­cal and men­tal part of it. I’m drained. I think each year you just drain your­self.” Not good­bye, but see you later: Showal­ter said he’s met with sev­eral play­ers over the final weeks of the season, and he has an open­door pol­icy for play­ers who want to dis­cuss team mat­ters over the course of the year.

Among those meet­ings in­cluded ones with short­stop and right-han­der both of whom are set to be­come free agents this off­sea­son and aren’t likely to re­turn.

“I think it’s harder for me some­times than them,” Showal­ter said. Around the horn: Showal­ter was still per­turbed about a con­tro­ver­sial call that went against the Ori­oles in Fri­day’s se­ries opener.

pop up hit a part of the cat­walk and was ruled fair, but Showal­ter still ar­gued not only that the ball clearly hit the cat­walk in foul ground but that there was no cam­era an­gle to al­low him to ar­gue for a re­play. … With lead­off hit­ter

out after ag­gra­vat­ing a ham­string in­jury, sec­ond base­man bat­ted lead­off for just the third time this season on Satur­day.

PA­TRICK SEMANSKY/AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Ori­oles cen­ter fielder Adam Jones has played in at least 147 games in seven of the past eight sea­sons.

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