The lineup Orioles manager Buck Showalter initially posted for Friday night's series opener against the Toronto Blue Jays had ailing All-Star Adam Jones starting in center field and batting third for his first appearance since Monday after sitting three games with a right shoulder injury.
Showalter was optimistic Jones could return to the field, but after his Gold Glove center fielder took batting practice before Friday's game, the manager made a last-minute change.
Jones remained in the lineup, but as the designated hitter. David Lough made his fourth straight start in center.
After Friday's game, Showalter explained why he decided to be cautious Friday.
“I had two lineups — one he was at DH and one at center field,” Showalter said. “It's like that second warmup — he threw and felt OK. When he threw to bases and everything, talking to Wayne [Kirby] and Adam, I didn't like the description of the way he was feeling. Decided to wait another day. Expect him to be in the lineup tomorrow.”
Jones said he started to get sore after warming up a second time before the game, and he agreed with the decision because he's “not going to push it in June.” But he hopes to be back in center field Saturday.
“I hope. I wanted to play out there today, but I wanted to listen to my body and not be stupid,” Jones said. “I'd rather miss some games in June and not let it affect my September.”
Before the lineup change, Showalter said Jones is still progressing well from the injury. Jones injured the shoulder while diving for a ball Monday.
“He feels good,” Showalter said. “It's really like a bone bruise more than anything else. Structurally, we did the tests. He's in good shape structurally. We took the next few days to be on the safe side. Hopefully, he'll be all right. It's still a different speed to the game and different things that go on. But I feel good about the precautions we've taken.”
Boras clears the air with Showalter
Superagent Scott Boras, who called the Orioles' move to option left-hander Wei-Yin Chen to High-A Frederick "grossly irregular," attempted to clear the air with Showalter on Friday.
At the same time, Boras reiterated that his concern was that Showalter said general body fatigue two starts ago contributed to the decision to send Chen to the minors, where he could be shortened up in his next start. Chen is scheduled to throw three innings with a pitch count of approximately 45 on Saturday.
"I have four talented clients who play for Buck Showalter and have been playing well and that's the important thing here," Boras told The Sun. "Obviously, Buck Showalter does a great job and I have no problem with him. What I want clarity on is why this was done. It is not a health issue with Wei-Yin. … The bottom line is that four of my players have played well under Buck for three years now and that obviously says something. I have no problem with him except that I want it known that this was about them trying to alleviate their roster situation temporarily."
Boras, who said he spoke at length with Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette on Thursday about a variety of undisclosed matters, not only represents Chen but also first baseman Chris Davis, catcher Matt Wieters and closer Zach Britton. Chen, Davis and Wieters are all pending free agents.
After the Orioles optioned Chen, two tweets were posted from his Twitter account expressing that he was disappointed in his routine being interrupted while maintaining he was healthy.
Showalter said the primary reason for the move was because Chen complained of fatigue after his June 10 start and he has a track record of pitching better with extra rest. Chen went on to throw eight scoreless innings in his start Monday. Showalter said Chen, who uses an interpreter, understood the purpose of the move clearly — that the club wanted to keep him rested and healthy throughout the season.
The move allowed the Orioles to select the contract of outfielder/first baseman Chris Parmelee, another Boras client.
Schoop makes minor league rehab debut
Second baseman Jonathan Schoop began his minor league rehabilitation assignment Friday at Double-A Bowie, making his first start at second base since going on the disabled list April 18 with a partial PCL tear and MCL sprain in his right knee.
Schoop was hitless in four at-bats with three strikeouts.
Showalter said it was still undecided whether Schoop will play every day in Bowie or whether he will need the entire 20-day minor league rehab window. Vice president of baseball operations Brady Anderson is monitoring Schoop in Bowie.
"I know Brady was talking about him not playing every day, maybe two on and one off," Showalter said. "I'm leaving that completely up to Brady. … He's been playing games forever and hitting. He's just getting back into it. He doesn't necessarily have to play nine innings. He's had 10 at-bats in a game, so just getting back into the defensive side tonight."
Around the horn
Right-hander Miguel Gonzalez participated in pitchers' fielding practice Friday, his last step before making his first scheduled rehab start Saturday for Bowie. Gonzalez, who is on the DL with a right groin strain, is scheduled to throw five innings or 75 pitches. … The Orioles are making progress in their attempt to sign first-round draft pick DJ Stewart, but no deal was imminent Friday. … Showalter said top prospect Dylan Bundy had a previously scheduled MRA test performed on his right shoulder to gauge whether the inflammation has subsided. Bundy has been on the DL since late May.