In the seventh inning of Saturday’s loss at Tropicana Field, the Tampa Bay Rays hit two triples into the left-center gap.
Both times, Orioles center fielder Adam Jones tracked the balls down and threw into the infield. Then, both times, Jones grimaced in pain as his knees momentarily buckled. He stayed in the game and later drove in the Orioles’ lone run.
But he definitely wasn’t right in the seventh.
In classic Jones’ fashion, he refused to talk about specifics of the discomfort, though he did admit he’s aching.
"I’ve been playing every day. The body is sore a little bit, but I’m playing tomorrow so it doesn’t really matter," Jones said after Saturday’s game. "It’s my whole body, head to toe. I need to sit in a whole ice tub, head to toe. But I’m good. Normal body soreness for game 150-whatever-it-is. If you play every day, you are bound to have a couple things bother you. I’m human. Some things bother me, but that still isn’t going to deter me from being on the field."
Jones has not missed a game since 2011. He takes pride in playing every game, especially since signing his big contract extension in 2012. Jones made a point last summer about how Nick Markakis played nearly every game after signing his extension (before injuries truncated his 2012 season) and that Jones believes he learned something from that.
So the center fielder is going to keep plugging along, at least for the next eight games. There may be some chinks in Jones’ armor, but toughness isn’t one of them.
And that’s not lost on his manager.
"He's fouled balls off his shin, his knee, his feet, his toes, everything. Everybody has. But the reason why it always gets magnified is this guy posts up, and that's why I love him,” Showalter said. "He's a special breed, a special guy and we're lucky to have him. He's a guy who has nothing to do with contractual obligations. He's going to play the game a certain way, and he's a tone-setter for us."