For the second consecutive year, center fielder Adam Jones was named Most Valuable Oriole — an award he said should go to the entire roster of this upstart club.
"It's pretty cool, but there are other deserving guys," said Jones, who leads the club with 32 homers and has played all 159 games this season. "Like I've stated, I've lobbied for [closer] Jim Johnson and our whole entire bullpen and pitching staff. I appreciate it, but I can't do none of this without my teammates. They are the reason why we're all out here and are where we're at. It's getting named to me, but it is a team award. I think the whole team deserves it."
Johnson, who finished second, and catcher Matt Wieters, who placed third, were the only other Orioles to receive first-place consideration from members of the media that cover the team. Right fielder Nick Markakis and rookie pitcher Wei-Yin Chen also were named on ballots.
Jones becomes the seventh player to win consecutive Louis M. Hatter MVO awards, named for late Sun sports writer Lou Hatter, who covered the team for 27 years. Jones joins an impressive list of consecutive winners: Frank Robinson, Boog Powell, Cal Ripken Jr., , Rafael Palmeiro and Jim Palmer.
"Palmer? I need to do something that Palmer hasn't done," Jones joked. "I've got the key to the city. Palmer doesn't have one of those. He probably does. But that's a good list. I'm not going to get ahead of myself when it comes to the Hall of Fame. Trust me. But it's a team award."
Orioles manager Buck Showalter said he thought Jones was one of several exceptional options.
"There were good choices everywhere," Showalter said. "He's a deserving guy. … I've been proud of Adam, not only posting up. … He really plays. He's there. You can count on him."
The affable Jones joked that he already had a title to go with MVO.
"I am the coolest Oriole. That's pretty known. I'm the coolest in here, you know, personality-wise," Jones said smiling. "I'm cool. I know that. … Wieters is cool, but he is quiet, calm, collected, to himself."
Steve Johnson dealing with knee pain
Rookie right-hander Steve Johnson, who has been one of the club's best pitchers in the past month, is dealing with a left knee injury that he suffered when he was hit on the right foot by a Dustin Pedroia comebacker in the fourth inning Saturday.
He is expected to undergo an MRI in Florida, either in Sarasota or Tampa, on Monday, Showalter said.
Johnson said his foot was better Sunday morning, but his left knee, which he extended awkwardly when he was hit by the grounder, was hurting.
"The knee is bothering me a little bit," Johnson said. "It kind of gave out on me. I'm trying to figure out what's going on with that. I don't feel terrible, but something is bothering me a little bit. Trying to figure out what it is. … It's not so bad walking around, but I can make it hurt here and there."
If the Orioles lose Johnson (4-0, 2.11 ERA in 12 games, four starts) it would be a big blow to the postseason roster since he has emerged as one of the club's most versatile arms. Showalter said it was too early to consider that option.
Camden Yards tops 2.1 million
With Sunday's announced crowd of 41,257, the Orioles officially drew 2,102,240 fans for the season, the best attendance at Camden Yards since 2007. It was a 19.8 percent increase from last year's 1.76 million.
The Orioles actually had fewer gates this season because two rainouts forced the club to have two, one-admission doubleheaders. So they hosted 79 home separate gates this year, in comparison to 80 or 81 in past seasons. It was the first time the Orioles have had less than 80 gates since the strike-shortened 1995 season, when they had 72.
The Orioles per-game attendance climbed to 26,611, the highest since 2007 and nearly 5,000 more per game than in 2011.
Around the horn
Showalter said Brian Roberts, who is done for the season after hip surgery, will join the team in Tampa. … Right fielder Nick Markakis is expected to get the pins removed from his left thumb Monday in Sarasota. A timetable for his return is not set. … Triple-A manager Ron Johnson and pitching coach Mike Griffin, who had been with the Orioles, left this weekend for the instructional league in Sarasota. Former Oriole Scott McGregor was the Orioles' additional coach Sunday. Bobby Dickerson, who also throws batting practice, was with the Orioles at Camden Yards and will be with the team in Tampa. … Chris Davis' four consecutive games with a homer ties the season record, set by Nolan Reimold in April. … The Red Sox have now lost 90 games for the first time since 1966.