Adam Jones: “I’m going after Cal”

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Orioles outfielder Adam Jones played in all 162 games last season, the first Oriole to do so since Miguel Tejada in 2006. Speaking to reporters, Jones joked that he was going after Cal Ripken Jr’s all-time record of 2,632 consecutive games played.

“I’m going to break Cal [Ripken, Jr.’s] record,” Jones joked. “I’m going after Cal. Cal is in my sights. Sixteen more years. But that’s my goal. If I show up at the ballpark, I’d rather play than sit. I’d rather play than have a day off. That’s just my mentality.”

Jones will be playing for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic, an event that brings with it an increased risk of injury for participating players. In preparation, Jones focused more on his lower body during the off-season. Jones said, “I made sure that I trained my legs for this WBC because I know the biggest concern is the health risks, the issues.”

Jones hopes to build off of a career year in 2012. The center fielder hit a career-best 32 home runs and posted an .839 OPS, the first time in his career he crossed the .800 threshold.

When manager Buck Showalter was asked if he would allow his center fielder to play 162 games this season, he said, “No, he won’t play 162. But don’t hold me to it.”

Japanese Baseball to begin June 19

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Japanese League commissioner Atsushi Saito announced that Japan’s professional baseball season will open on June 19. Teams can being practice games on June 2. There will be no fans. Indeed, the league has not yet even begun to seriously discuss a plan for fans to begin attending games, though that may happen eventually.

The season will begin three months after its originally scheduled opening day of March 20. It will be 120 games long. Teams in each six-team league — the Central League and Pacific League — will play 24 games against each league opponent. There will be no interleague play and no all-star game.

The announcement came in the wake of a national state of emergency being lifted for both Tokyo and the island of Hokkaido. The rest of the country emerged from the state of emergency earlier this month. This will allow the Japanese leagues to follow leagues in South Korea and Taiwan which have been playing for several weeks.

In the United States, Major League Baseball is hoping to resume spring training in mid June before launching a shortened regular season in early July. That plan is contingent on the league and the players’ union coming to an agreement on both financial arrangements and safety protocols for a 2020 season. Negotiations on both are ongoing. Major League Baseball will, reportedly, make a formal proposal about player compensation tomorrow.