Jonathan Schoop was hanging out at his locker Wednesday afternoon when Orioles manager Buck Showalter, who had been talking with shortstop J.J. Hardy nearby, pointed to Schoop and said, "You and J.J. today."
"That's when I knew I was going to play second and he was playing shortstop," Schoop said. "My heart started beating a little bit."
The 21-year-old Schoop, the organization's top position prospect, has been with the Orioles since being recalled from Triple-A Norfolk on Sept. 3. But he hadn't yet appeared in a game.
With the Orioles officially eliminated from playoff contention on Tuesday, Schoop was in the lineup Wednesday, batting eighth and playing second base in his major league debut. He singled up the middle on the second pitch he saw from Toronto right-hander Esmil Rogers in the third inning.
He later scored the first run of his career on Ryan Flaherty's homer and in the sixth inning added a home run of his own.
"I've waited for a while and I am excited. I'm excited to step on the field and play," Schoop said before the game. "It's been a long time I've worked for this moment, and it feels good."
If the Orioles do not re-sign second baseman Brian Roberts, a free agent at season's end, Schoop would be considered a candidate to be the club's starter in 2014. Showalter wanted the Curacao native to be with the team this year and experience how things worked at the major league level, even if he didn't play this September. Showalter liked what he saw.
"He's been very good at watching, alert, he's seen every pitch. One thing about Jonathan, Jonathan loves baseball. He's engaged, you look for that a lot with young players," Showalter said. "Doesn't take himself too seriously, but he's also serious about the right things, maybe to a fault. He wants to be a contributor up here at some point in his career."
Schoop, who hit .256 with nine homers and 34 RBI in 70 games with Norfolk, said he believes his time on the big league bench this month was invaluable.
"It was a good experience. I was learning a lot, being here is a big thing," Schoop said. "Some guys, they tell you what's going on in the big leagues, but if you are here, you know. You see it."
Adam Jones was not in Wednesday's starting lineup, the first time he has not started a game in exactly two years. The last time was Sept. 25, 2011 — a streak of 322 consecutive games.
"I want to play every day. That's why I signed up to play," Jones said. "OK, I get a day off. I probably have been playing like I need a day off. The manager knows best. I never question what Showalter does."
Jones has hit just .228 with a .294 on-base percentage this month and has been dealing with myriad bumps and bruises. Showalter said he sat Jones for "both" mental and physical reasons — but it had nothing to with halting Jones' streak before it gets unmanageable.
"It's got nothing to do with trying to stop something before it gets out of control or whatever," Showalter said. "For me, it's kind of a tough love. Nobody likes writing a lineup out without Adam Jones in it. It's one of those things you don't miss 'til it's gone."
Jones — usually joking — has often talked about how he would like to make a run at Cal Ripken Jr.'s major league-best streak of 2,632 consecutive games played. He's only about 14-plus seasons away.
"Yeah Cal's record is still on lock right now," Jones said. "I wanna approach that. It's such an impressive streak. But I need a day, man."
Pridie gets call
Because the Orioles wanted to give Jones a rest and Chris Dickerson is dealing with a right hamstring strain that required an MRI on Wednesday, the club decided to select the contract of 29-year-old outfielder Jason Pridie.
Pridie, who was immediately inserted into the club's starting lineup Wednesday despite not getting to the ballpark until around 5 p.m., hit .269 with 15 homers in 118 games with Norfolk. He grounded out in his first at-bat as an Oriole.
Showalter said the club had considered adding Pridie, a favorite of Norfolk manager Ron Johnson, throughout the year, but he never fit exactly what the roster needed at the time.
"Ronny said he was one of, if not his best, everyday player," Showalter said. "He just never fit the whole season, but he was close quite a few times."
To make room for Pridie on the 40-man roster, the Orioles placed Manny Machado, who tore the medial patellofemoral ligament in his left knee Monday, on the 60-day disabled list.
Around the horn
Baltimore native Steve Clevenger (Mount St. Joseph's) made his first home start behind the plate for the Orioles on Wednesday. He said before the game he called his mother to tell her he was starting at Camden Yards and, "I'm sure she'll spread the word." … Showalter said he hasn't decided whether Chris Tillman, who set a career high with 201 1/3 innings pitched this year, will make Sunday's start or whether the club will shut down the 25-year-old. ... If Tillman doesn't pitch Sunday, the start won't go to lefty Tsuyoshi Wada. Showalter said he doesn't expect Wada to be recalled. … Lefty T.J. McFarland is leaving Thursday morning to deal with a family issue in Chicago, but should be back by game time Thursday evening.