Orioles center fielder Adam Jones has enjoyed watching young stars Jonathan Schoop and Manny Machado trade home runs as they compete for the team lead in that department, but it's not like he's on the outside looking in.
Jones hammered two home runs and matched a career high with four hits in Monday night's 7-3 victory over the Oakland Athletics at Camden Yards, and now is on pace to have his first 30-homer season in four years.
Not that it's any big thing.
Just ask him.
"Playing the game, being healthy and being able to go out there every day and play," he said. "I've always told you if I'm healthy, I should be able to go out there and do something. I'm healthy."
He seemed more interested in talking about Schoop, who hit a game-breaking three-run home run in the fifth inning, and Machado, who was just named American League Player of the Week.
"It's just fun to watch. … I love the maturity of them," Jones said. "I love the way they've continued their great relationship. They get each other going. They get each other hot. They spark each other.
"You've got these two young guys who are playing at this high level and they're some of the best players in baseball. We talk about them so much offensively. I mean, Manny's one of the best defensive players in all of baseball, especially at third base, but Schoop is pretty damn good himself and I don't think he gets enough credit for his defense."
Jones gets credit for being the leader of the pack, and this year that dates all the way back to his participation in the World Baseball Classic, where he helped lead Team USA to the championship.
There is a school of thought that playing at full tilt so early in the spring is a prescription for a tired season, but Jones has proven that wrong and isn't afraid to blow up the theory.
"People always complain about something," he said. "I'm not the only one that played in the WBC that's having a solid year. Look at Nellie Cruz. Look at [Robinson] Cano. Look at Machado. Look at Schoop. Look at [Andrelton] Simmons. Look at [Xander] Bogaerts. That's just to name a few people.
"That theory to me is … poppycock. That's a good word for that."