Jones does not start but al­most ready

Cen­ter fielder ‘close’ to re­turn, says Showal­ter; Al­varez hits vs. Happ

Baltimore Sun - - ORIOLES - By Ed­uardo A. Encina eencina@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/Ed­dieInTheYard

Ori­oles cen­ter fielder Adam Jones put his left ham­string through a se­ries of run­ning drills be­fore Tues­day night’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays, but he re­mained out of the start­ing lineup for the fourth straight day and did not play.

Man­ager Buck Showal­ter said Jones’ ham­string is im­prov­ing, but the team is still de­ter­mined to en­sure Jones doesn’t re­turn too quickly.

He’s “close, very close,” Showal­ter said. “He still feels it just a lit­tle bit on one move­ment. He’s close. We could play him, [but] would take a pretty big risk that he might not be with us for the rest of the year. So we want to be care­ful.”

Showal­ter wouldn’t say what move­ment was still hurt­ing Jones, but Jones did do base-run­ning drills in which he had to start and stop.

“This is the first time he’s re­ally kind of [done] a lot of the ac­tiv­ity he did,” Showal­ter said. “Had some throw-overs to first base where he had to start and stop. Most things like that, you’re fine when you’re un­der­way. It’s the [de­cel­er­a­tion] or the ac­cel­er­a­tion phase that gets you.

“And I don’t care how much to do out there, there’s a dif­fer­ent in­ten­sity [ when] the game starts,” Showal­ter said. “So that’s why you’d like for there not to be any­thing.”

Showal­ter in­di­cated that Jones could be avail­able to come off the bench, but Thurs­day’s day off would let the team give Jones an ex­tra day of rest af­ter tonight’s se­ries fi­nale against Toronto.

“We feel like if Adam was ready to go, he’d play to­day,” Showal­ter said. “But he’s avail­able to us. He’s close.” Adam Jones Al­varez gets his hacks against Happ: Des­ig­nated hit­ter Pe­dro Al­varez was one of the Ori­oles’ hottest hitters in the first week of Au­gust, bat­ting .329/.338/.737 over a five-week stretch lead­ing into Aug. 5, in­clud­ing six homers in a seven game span in which he went 13-for-28.

But a pair of in­ter­league trips to Na­tional League parks, where Amer­i­can League clubs can’t use a DH, and a fre­quent num­ber of left-handed starters — he’s played pri­mar­ily against right­ies — have made Al­varez’s play­ing time in­con­sis­tent.

“That’s one of the neg­a­tives of in­ter­league play, be­cause clubs are de­signed with that in mind,” Showal­ter said.

On Tues­day, how­ever, Showal­ter gave Al­varez his sec­ond start against a left-handed pitcher when he bat­ted sec­ond against Toronto’s J.A. Happ. His only other start against a lefty starter this year was also against Happ, on July 30 in Toronto. Al­varez went 1-for-3 with a solo home run against Happ that game. On Tues­day, he went 2-for-3, in­clud­ing a dou­ble.

Al­varez en­tered the game 6-for-30 against left-han­ders this sea­son, but he had reached base in six of 12 ca­reer plate ap­pear­ances against Happ, go­ing 4-for-10 with two walks a dou­ble and the homer.

“Pete’s had a lit­tle suc­cess against him,” Showal­ter said. “We played him over there against them in Toronto. If Adam was in the lineup, I still might have got­ten Pete in there.” Till­man sched­uled to throw off mound this week­end: Right-han­der Chris Till­man said he felt good Tues­day af­ter his flat-ground throw­ing ses­sion Mon­day, a light toss that was his first since go­ing on the dis­abled list with right shoul­der bur­si­tis.

Till­man is sched­uled to throw off flat ground again to­day, and Showal­ter said if that goes well, he should be able to throw off a mound this week­end.

Still, Showal­ter said that af­ter see­ing the sched­ule that pitch­ing coach Dave Wal­lace and head trainer Richie Ban­cells have mapped out for Till­man, he doesn’t think Till­man will re­turn from the DL on Sept. 9 or 10, as was ex­pected.

“I see what they’re try­ing to do, and they’re right. Chris feels good. He has to cross over a cou­ple thresh­olds to get to the dates. Some­time that week­end.” Around the horn: Showal­ter met with ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent Dan Du­quette on Tues­day to dis­cuss Septem­ber call-ups, and Showal­ter said Du­quette is still sur­vey­ing the trade front for up­grades. … Out­fielder Julio Bor­bon and right-han­der Lo­gan On­drusek cleared waivers and were out­righted to Dou­ble-A Bowie on Tues­day.

Starters: Yan­kees’ Michael Pineda (6-11, 5.12) vs. Wade Mi­ley (8-11, 5.43)

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