Manager Buck Showalter said Adam Jones "feels better" and has less swelling in his sprained left ankle Sunday, and while he doesn't believe a trip to the disabled list is required at this point, the club is being cautious with its star center fielder.

"It's the right thing," Showalter said of the decision to keep Jones out of the lineup a second straight day against Tampa Bay Rays starter Jake Odorizzi, against whom Jones has hit a team-leading 8-for-17 (.471).


"I don't put Adam in that position because I know what he's going to say," he said. "It's not fair to him. We know what he means to our club, and there's some caution we have to take right now. I'm not saying he's going to play tomorrow."

Showalter also didn't say whether Jones will be available Sunday for competitive reasons, only saying that Jones is "close" to being healthy. But for the durable Jones, who played all 162 games in 2012 and sat out a combined three games in the two seasons since, any time out of the starting lineup is rare.

Jones played the first 47 games of the season this year, and even played Friday, a day after he turned his ankle sliding into home against the Chicago White Sox. He hasn't missed consecutive games since September 2011, when he spent a week out of the lineup and as a defensive substitute while dealing with a thumb issue.

Jones might balk at serving as the designated hitter before making a full return to the lineup, Showalter said, but that possibility would only be possible if Jones asked for it.

"I'd rather not, but if I've got him a day earlier at DH, yea," Showalter said. "If he said to me, 'Hey, I'm ready to play, but just DH for one day,' he'll DH that day. I haven't asked that, had that conversation with him because with a guy like Adam, you've got to take it out of play. If he's not banging on your door early in the morning, you know there's a little something he's still dealing with there."

In Jones' absence, David Lough makes his second straight start in center.

-- Showalter indicated there might be a change in catcher Matt Wieters' schedule. Shortly after Showalter spoke to the media, the team announced that instead of catching Monday for Class-A Frederick and Wednesday for Triple-A Norfolk, Wieters would catch a rehabbing Bud Norris (bronchitis) for the Tides on Tuesday.

Wieters is slated to return from a 13-month absence after Tommy John surgery on Friday in Cleveland.

-- Showalter also laid out the next two weeks of work for right-hander Kevin Gausman (shoulder tendinitis). Gausman will throw a two-inning simulated game Tuesday in Houston, then will make a rehab start for Frederick on Saturday, June 6 in Wilmington.

Then, Gausman will throw three innings or 45 pitches for the Keys, and head to Double-A Bowie to throw four or five innings, or 60 to 65 pitches, for the Baysox on Thursday, June 11 against Binghamton.

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