"I just trained my legs a little more," Jones said of the offseason preparation for the WBC. "Basically what I did last year. I think the most important thing is to play 162 for Baltimore, but I made sure that I played my legs in order for this WBC because I know the biggest concern is the health risks, the issues. Nobody wants to get hurt doing it because you're not playing for your team, you're playing for your country, but I think I'm in good enough shape to go out there and give it all I've got.
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Showalter said he plans to ease up on Jones once he returns from the WBC — the tournament's championship game is March 19, but the United States only reached the semifinals in the last WBC in 2009 – with the goal to keep Jones fresh for the long grind of the regular season.
Jones believes he will be ready. He's prepared to play another 162 games this season. New York Yankees outfielder Ichiro Suzuki and Detroit Tigers first baseman Prince Fielder were the only other players to play in every game last season.
"I'm going to break Cal's record," Jones said with a smile, referring to former Orioles great Cal Ripken Jr..s consecutive games streak of 2,632 games. "I'm going after Cal. Cal is in my sights. Sixteen more years. But that's my goal. If I show up at the ballpark, I'd rather play than sit. I'd rather play than have a day off. That's just my mentality."
Showalter said he'd like to give Jones more rest in 2013 — given the fact that Jones' health is a huge part of the Orioles' future success — but he can't guarantee that Jones will take those scheduled days off.
"No, he won't play 162," Showalter smirked, "but don't hold me to it. I kept trying to get him out of there last year. [You're asked] about contractual obligations. I got asked a question, 'Can you trust him with this?' It was a short answer. It's fun to watch him turn into the guy he is."
U.S. schedule for the World Baseball Classic
Pool D, Chase Field in Phoenix
March 8: U.S. vs. Mexico, 9 p.m.
March 9: U.S. vs. Italy, 9 p.m.
March 10: U.S. vs. Canada, 4 p.m.
If the U.S. is one of the top two teams in the pool, it will play in the double-elimination second round at Marlins Park in Miami (March 12-16). The semifinals and finals are at AT&T Park in San Francisco (March 17-19). All WBC games will be televised on MLB Network and ESPN Deportes. For the full schedule, visit worldbaseballclassic.com.