Orioles outfielder Adam Jones is back in the lineup for Tuesday night’s game agaisnt the Athletics. That’s notable because Jones hadn’t played since September 5, nearly a week ago. The Orioles had two off days but Jones — a free agent after the season — did not start any of the three games against the Rays over the weekend.
The common justification for not starting Jones is that the 41-102 Orioles simply wanted to get a better look at some young outfielders who will be with the team beyond this season. Joey Rickard started in center field all three games against the Rays with Cedric Mullins in left. However, Jones invoked his no-trade protection earlier this season when the O’s were discussing a trade with the Phillies. Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun thinks Jones’ recent benching is, in part, related to that torpedoed transaction. Which, by the way, Jones had every right to do.
Jones, who has spent 11 of his 13 seasons in the majors with the Orioles and has become the face of the franchise, enters Tuesday’s action batting .285/.317/.429 with 14 home runs and 55 RBI in 542 plate appearances. He’s been one of the few players passing muster in Baltimore this season. Naturally, the Orioles are finding a way to make his send-off awkward.