Jones does not start but almost ready
Center fielder ‘close’ to return, says Showalter; Alvarez hits vs. Happ
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)