Adam Jones' shoulder discomfort has returned, and this time it's more intense than the pain that kept him out of five games last week.
"Before it was just kind of sore," the Orioles' center fielder said. "This is actual pain."
Jones was hit in the back, near his left shoulder, by a Gavin Floyd pitch on Aug. 24. He didn't play again until Tuesday. In the fifth inning Wednesday, Jones swung at a Jon Lester pitch and immediately winced. He ending up striking out, and didn't hit again.
The pain is now more toward the shoulder and shoulder blade than the blade and back, as it was last week, Jones said Thursday. He was expected to be examined by a team physician Thursday to get a more detailed evaluation. He has his own thoughts, though.
"I should be (out) a couple days and then get back on that field," Jones said. "That's my own diagnosis of myself.
Jones has dealt with injuries toward the end of the year in each of his three seasons with the Orioles. He missed last September due to a sprained left ankle and he broke his left foot fouling off a ball in August, 2008.
"It's annoying how much time I've missed. I don't even want to miss another day," Jones said. "It's annoying. It's a long year. We've got one more month, and something stupid like this throws everything off. It sucks. It's part of the sport. It's part of the lifestyle we live. You've just got to let our trainers do their jobs and get me back on the field."
Orioles manager Buck Showalter wouldn't rule out using Jones in an emergency, but he didn't have a timetable for his return.
"We'll take it day-to-day and hope for improvements, but he is not available to hit (Thursday) to start the game," Showalter said. "We'll see what he can bring and what (contributions) he might be able to make, but we'll be cautious with it."
On Thursday, Felix Pie started in center and Nolan Reimold, who was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk on Wednesday when rosters expanded, played left field. Corey Patterson, another option, hurt his neck after hitting a wall last week in Chicago and was still bothered by it.
"Patterson's still got some physical challenges going into the game," Showalter said. "But it is also a good opportunity to get Nolan out there, too."
Showalter said once he saw Jones show visible pain in the at-bat against Lester, he knew the injury had resurfaced.
"I think getting to know Adam and listening to a lot of people talk, he's not that type of guy that you know every ounce of discomfort he is feeling," Showalter said. "We've seen what kind of tough guy he is."
Watching the Morgan melee
Showalter, an ESPN analyst before being hired in August by the Orioles, said he saw replays of Wednesday's brawl between the Florida Marlins and Washington Nationals, which occurred after Florida starter Chris Volstad threw behind Nationals infielder Nyjer Morgan in the sixth inning and Morgan charged the mound.
Volstad had already plunked Morgan in the fourth and Morgan proceeded to steal second and third base with the Nationals down 11 runs. The night before, Morgan, instead of sliding into home, collided with the Marlins' Brett Hayes and separated the young catcher's shoulder.
"It's a tough game played by passionate men that want to defend their ground … And when something gets to that point, there's usually both groups somewhat in the right and both groups somewhat in the wrong," Showalter said. "And that's why you settle it in different manners. Sometimes, there are a lot of wolf calls going on and sometimes there's not. I don't think there was much wolf calls going on there."
Reliever Rick VandenHurk, who spent his entire career with the Marlins before he was traded to the Orioles on July 31, said he watched the replays — which included Marlins first baseman Gaby Sanchez clotheslining Morgan — but didn't study it.
"Volstad is a great guy and a great pitcher," VandenHurk said. "Obviously I haven't seen all their games and stuff, but I watched on TV and saw some things that happened and they felt like they had to do something. And if that is the case, then you have to do something."
Showalter said he talked about the incident with rookie starter Brian Matusz on Thursday. And he dispensed a piece of important advice to his young lefty.
"Make sure if you do anything like that, you do it with your right hand," Showalter said he told Matusz. "That was No. 1."
Simon's not stopping
Showalter said the club has not discussed shutting down reliever Alfredo Simon, who has made 42 appearances this year after having ligament-replacement surgery in his right elbow in May, 2009.
Simon has pitched to a 7.32 ERA in his last 17 games since the all-star break, including allowing three runs in 1 2/3 innings Wednesday.
"He had as good a fastball (Wednesday) night as he's had since I've been here. He just had everything up," Showalter said. "It's something we'll continue to monitor, but we haven't gotten there with him yet. Those questions and things come up when a guy's not productive. Sometimes it's just not making good pitches."
Matusz wins award
Matusz was named the American League Rookie of the Month for August. In six starts, he went 4-1 with a 2.43 ERA in 37 innings. He led all AL rookies in wins, innings pitched and strikeouts (26) while holding opposing hitters to a .241 average.
He will receive a specially designed and engraved trophy commemorating the honor. He is the first Oriole rookie to win it since Reimold in June 2009 and the first rookie Orioles pitcher since Rodrigo Lopez in July 2002.
Around the horn
Minor league outfielder Xavier Avery was added to the Orioles' contingent for the Arizona Fall League. Avery, who has played at Single-A Frederick and Double-A Bowie, and Frederick outfielder Ronnie Welty were named to the 2010 Carolina League Postseason All-Star team. They are the 29th and 30th players in Keys' history to earn the honor. … Reliever David Hernandez (left ankle) is expected to pitch for Double-A Bowie this weekend at Richmond. If all goes well, he could join the Orioles next week. … Umpire Angel Campos was called up from the Pacific Coast League to replace Tom Hallion, who was hit in the left arm by a foul ball Wednesday night.