WASHINGTON — It's about a half-hour before tonight's scheduled first pitch, it's still raining at Nationals Park and the tarp is on the field.
Center fielder Adam Jones is not in the starting lineup for tonight's series opener against the Washington Nationals.
While Jones told reporters before tonight's game that there was nothing specific keeping him out of the lineup, manager Buck Showalter said that Jones was not available to start today because of back spasms.
"Everybody has some different spasms now and then," Showalter said. "Believe me, if Adam could play, he'd play. It's my decision. I'm not going to run him out here. He's played many a game here as an Oriole that he had some issues. His 70 percent is not as good as somebody else's 100 percent. Sometimes it is, tonight's not one of them."
Showalter did echo Jones in saying that playing four days on the Tropicana Field's artificial turf took a physical toll on the outfielder. Showalter expects Jones to be back in the lineup Tuesday.
"He's not available to start," Showalter said. "We'll see what the rest of the game brings, but things [are] managing well. Just a little wear and tear from four days on the turf and a long season of playing center field every day. Hopefully, it will manage itself, and he'll start tomorrow."
Right-handed-hitting Junior Lake is starting in center field tonight against Nationals left-hander Gio Gonzalez. Lake has played 65 career major league games in center field. Gerardo Parra has appeared in 181 games in center, but Showalter wanted to keep his left-handed bat available off the bench in a National League park.
"He's our best option tonight with Gonzalez," Showalter said of Lake. "I've been wanting to get him back out there anyway, and the situation with Adam, if not him, then who kind of thing. ... I know the Cubs thought a lot of him as a center fielder."
Other notable items from Showalter's pregame scrum:
** Right-hander Miguel Gonzalez, who is scheduled to pitch in a simulated game before Wednesday's game, could return to the starting rotation after that, but Showalter said he likely won't pitch until after this weekend's series in Boston.
"I really felt good about him feeling good today after yesterday because he stretched it out pretty good yesterday on the side," Showalter said, referring to Gonzalez's 30-pitch bullpen session Sunday. "And I know [pitching coach Dave Wallace] and him are upbeat about it so if things go well Wednesday, we'll consider where we go from there."
** Catcher Matt Wieters is not starting today, but he is scheduled to start back-to-back days behind the plate in the last two games of this series Tuesday and Wednesday.
Wieters is expected to be catching on back-to-back days for just the fourth time this season, but it will be the third time this month.
** Rookie right-hander Tyler Wilson will start Wednesday's series finale against the Nationals. Showalter said fellow rookie Mike Wright will work out of the bullpen.
Wilson allowed six runs on eight hits over 4 1/3 innings on Friday in an 8-6 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.