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.”

U.S Defeats World in a power-packed Futures Game

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They played the Futures Game yesterday, pitting the top prospects from the United States against the top prospects from the rest of the world. You most likely missed it because, for reasons that have still yet to be adequately explained to me, the game takes place on Sunday afternoon, when literally all 30 major league teams are in action. Oh well.

If you did happen to see it, however, you saw a lot of bombast, as the two teams combined for eight home runs, with Team USA prevailing, 10-6. It was the United States’ eighth win in the past nine Futures Games.

Yusniel Diaz of the Dodgers system hit two homers — he was the first one to do that in a Futures Game since Alfonso Soriano did it back in 1999 — but Taylor Trammell of the Reds system was the game MVP following his 2-for-2 (HR, 3B) performance. Other highlights involved Reds pitching prospect Hunter Greene, who threw 19 fastballs among his 27 pitches, each and every one of them hitting triple digits, with one registering at 103.1 m.p.h. Not that velocity is everything: a 102.3 m.p.h. pitch he threw ended up being deposited over the fence for a two-run homer by Luis Alexander Basabe of the White Sox system.

Also of note was a homer from Ke’Bryan Hayes of the Pirates system. Notable for it breaking a tie and putting the U.S. up by two, but also notable because Ke’Bryan is the son of former big leaguer Charlie Hayes. Feel old yet?

There was a lot of back and forth, and certainly a lot of bombast, but the U.S. took its final lead on a wild pitch. Here are some highlights:

Here’s hoping, in the future, the Futures Game is moved to Sunday evening or even Monday where people will have a better chance of seeing it.