Newly extended Adam Jones needs an MRI on sore wrist

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The Orioles are already without two-thirds of their outfield with Nolan Reimold and Nick Markakis on the DL. Now they’re holding the breath awaiting word on Adam Jones, who will undergo an MRI on his right wrist Monday.

Jones has been feeling pain in the wrist for weeks, and he had X-rays after coming out of Sunday’s game in the ninth inning for a pinch-hitter. Those came back negative.

“It just didn’t feel right,” Jones said. “I can feel it when I’m hitting. [The doctors] wanted to get a picture of it, and I wanted to get a picture of it, and see what’s going on in there so we can be sure and relieve any doubt.”

The timing is interesting, given that Jones just signed a new six-year, $85.5 million contract extension a week ago. The wrist injury obviously predates that agreement. However, it’s not like the wrist has been hurting his performance at all. He smacked two homers in a game Tuesday, and he’s currently sporting a .965 OPS after “bottoming out” at .905 on May 13.

MLB’s juiced baseball is juicing Triple-A home run totals too

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There has been considerable evidence amassed over the past year or two that the baseball used by Major League Baseball has a lower aerodynamic profile, leading to less drag, which leads directly to more home runs. If you doubted that at all, get a load of what is happening in Triple-A right now.

The minors have always had different balls than the majors. The MLB ball is made in Costa Rica at a Rawlings facility. The minor league balls are made in China. They use slightly different materials and, by all accounts, the minor league balls do not have the same sort of action and do not travel as far as the big league balls. Before the season, as Baseball America reported, Major League Baseball requested that Triple-A baseball switch to using MLB balls. The reason: uniformity and, one presumes, more accurate analysis of performance at the top level of the minor leagues.

The result, as Baseball America reports today, is a massive uptick in homers in the early going to the Triple-A season:

Last April, Triple-A hitters homered once every 47 plate appearances. As the weather warmed up, so did the home run rate. Over the course of the entire 2018 season, Triple-A hitters homered every 43 plate appearances. So far this year, they are homering every 32 plate appearances. Triple-A hitters are hitting home runs at a rate of 135 percent of last year’s rate.

Again, that’s in the coldest, least-homer friendly month of the season. It’s gonna just get worse. Or better, I guess, if you’re all about the long ball.

Which you had better be, because if they did something to deaden the balls and reduce homers, we’d have the same historically-high strikeout and walk rates but with no homers to provide offense to compensate. At least unless or until hitters changed their approach to become slap hitters or something, but that could take a good while. And may still not be effective given the advances in defense since the last time slap hitting was an important part of the game.

In the meantime, enjoy the dingers, Triple-A fans.