Because of his long shared history with Adam Jones, Orioles manager Buck Showalter can tell when an injury is truly bothering his durable All-Star center fielder.
So despite playing Friday — a day after his spike caught under him on a slide into home in the second game of doubleheader against the Chicago White Sox — the fact that Jones even brought up the pain in his left ankle was enough to earn him his first day out of the lineup in 2015.
"[He] woke up this morning sore, a little swelling, so I take it out of his hands," Showalter said. "I've been looking for a spot to give him a day anyway, and he's one of those guys you don't ask — you just do it. Today's the day. ..."Anytime Adam even admits to a little soreness there, you can probably multiply it times two."
After the game, Showalter said an MRI revealed a mild ankle sprain for Jones, who is day-to-day.
"Structurally he checked out pretty good. We'll see what tomorrow brings," Showalter said.
Jones had started each of the team's 47 games before Saturday, and hadn't been out of the lineup since Sept. 26 against the Toronto Blue Jays, when the Orioles were resting players ahead of the postseason.
In addition to being one of the team's best hitters this season — he's batting .304 with six home runs and 26 RBIs — Jones is one of the most consistently available.
He played all 162 games in 2012, and appeared in all but three of the Orioles' games since then.
"Adam plays a very physical game," Showalter said. "It lends more credence to how remarkable his availability is. You get to know players. If he even brings something up, you know it's something you should pay attention to. He fouls balls off his feet, his shin, hit by pitch."
But the other side of that, Showalter said, is that Jones tends to let them know without verbalizing it when something is bothering him.
"You can tell certain little things," Showalter said. "If there's no joking at all … that's usually a good indicator. He can't hide it."
David Lough started in center field for Jones on Saturday.
Norris to make at least one more rehab start
With Friday night's fireworks and the buzz after a walk-off win creating chaos in the clubhouse, Showalter said he wasn't able to catch up with right-hander Bud Norris about where and when his next start would be.
Showalter said he still plans to have Norris rejoin the rotation when he's ready. But after Saturday's game, Showalter said Norris will make at least one more minor league rehabilitation start Tuesday with Triple-A Norfolk.
That plan was influenced by Showalter's aversion to a six-man rotation, and the lack of opportunities to move any of the other starters off their scheduled days.
"Hopefully that will be his last [rehab] start. It's the last step. Get his legs under him," Showalter said. "We're not looking for him to pitch nine shutout innings. Just looking for him to continue down the path. He's very close. We'll see what the next few days bring. Without any off-days, it's hard to plan too deep."
Norris was 1-4 with a 9.88 ERA in six starts before he went on the disabled list with bronchitis and has made two rehab starts since.
He allowed nine earned runs on 12 hits in 22/3 innings on May 22 for Triple-A Norfolk, and five days later completed five innings with seven strikeouts and four runs allowed for Double-A Bowie on May 27.
In his absence, right-hander Mike Wright came up from Triple-A and didn't allow a run until his third start. Wright is 2-0 with a 1.40 ERA, 12 strikeouts and three walks in 191/3 innings.
Wright is scheduled to start for the Orioles on Tuesday in Houston, so that would put both him and Norris on pace to start Sunday in Cleveland.
Anderson to Sarasota
Orioles vice president of baseball operations Brady Anderson is traveling to Sarasota, Fla., today to check on the group of injured players rehabilitating at the team's spring training complex, including second baseman Jonathan Schoop (right knee sprain), and relievers Wesley Wright (left trapezius strain) and Jason Garcia (right shoulder tendinitis).
Showalter said Anderson would get a "fresh set of eyes" on all three, and added that Garcia was "doing well."
"I'm curious to see what we get when this is all done," Showalter said. "I'm looking forward to seeing [it]. I think he'll kind of get back to where he was in the spring."
Around the horn
Catcher Ryan Lavarnway, who elected free agency after the Orioles designated him for assignment Tuesday, signed a minor league contract with the Atlanta Braves on Saturday. Lavarnway had three hits in 28 at-bats with the Orioles. … B.J. Surhoff was with the Orioles as the extra coach Saturday, in place of Einar Diaz, who was at his child's graduation … Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. began his MLB-record 2,632-game streak 33 years ago Saturday.