In the leadup to the Los Angeles Angels’ visit to Camden Yards this week, former teammates were asking Jahmai Jones if he thought he’d be called up to the majors to face them. After coming up through the Angels organization and spending all of this season at Triple-A Norfolk polishing his defense at second base, Jones found out Monday that he would be part of this series.
The 24-year-old, acquired in February in the Orioles’ trade of right-hander Alex Cobb, is batting eighth and starting at second base in his debut with the club Tuesday night as it tries to end an 18-game losing streak, the longest in Major League Baseball since the Kansas City Royals lost 19 straight in 2005.
If ever there was a player who might turn around the Orioles’ energy a little bit, it might be the ever-cheery Jones.
“I’m excited to get up here and get in this locker room,” Jones said. “We have a lot of great players and a lot of guys I feel like I can really feed off of from a knowledge standpoint and a baseball standpoint. I’m excited for the opportunity to learn and on top of just being who I am, I feel like I’m just a happy-go-lucky kind of guy regardless. Hopefully, that translates into my game here and whatever happens from there happens. I’m definitely looking to have some fun while I’m up here.”
Orioles manager Brandon Hyde, who often recalls the energy that exciting prospects joining the major league team brought when he was with the Chicago Cubs, thinks it’s possible Jones could have a similar effect for this club.
“I think that any time the players come with energy, it’s a positive,” Hyde said. “We’re scuffling. We’re in a tough spot right now. Hopefully, Jam can give us a little jump-start and give our club some energy and play well. That would be huge for us.”
Jones was recalled after batting. 238 with a .745 OPS and 10 home runs at Norfolk, and he’s struggled of late despite hitting well on either side of an oblique strain that kept him out for a month earlier in the season.
His arrival, along with third baseman Maikel Franco being designated for assignment and Richie Martin being sent down to Norfolk, means the Orioles will have a new-look infield the rest of the way. Jones will primarily play second base, with Jorge Mateo at shortstop and Ramón Urías at third base. Hyde said Mateo and Urías will move around some as well.
Jones said he slept in Monday and was between getting lunch with teammate and roommate Tyler Nevin and going to the grocery store when Norfolk manager Gary Kendall called to tell him he’d been recalled.
Around the horn
>> Third baseman Kelvin Guttierez was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk to serve as a backup corner infielder.
>> Hyde said the Orioles will have Hunter Harvey (shoulder) pitch again at Triple-A Norfolk and reevaluate him before he’s activated from the injured list. Hyde said Harvey didn’t have a setback, but the team is monitoring how he recovers.
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>> The Orioles will determine a starter for Wednesday’s game following Tuesday’s series-opener, Hyde said.