NEW YORK - Adam Jones returned to his locker tonight, fully dressed and fully prepared to discuss his drop in center field in the seventh inning that cost the Orioles three runs in a 5-2 loss to the New York Yankees.
"Missed it," he said. "Trust me. Wish I could do it again, but hey, I missed it."
It was pointed out that somebody on the team thought Jones stepped on the edge of the warning track and momentarily lost his footing as he reached for Vernon Wells' fly ball with the bases loaded and two outs.
"Just missed it," Jones said. "Foot gave out, you could say it's rain, you could say it's cold, you could say anything - wind, you could say whatever you want. I was there. Didn't catch it. Cost my team the game. Trust me, it's quite frustrating.
"To make a mistake like that, big in the game, late in the game, you cost your team a game. It's not a good feeling, but the good thing about baseball you show up tomorrow with a better plan. Some days you're the hero, some days you're the goat."
Jones won't bother to check the replay.
"I don't have to watch that ball on video," he said. "I've caught way tougher balls than that. And it's a ball hit over my head. It's a routine play in my book. Me and (Wayne) Kirby talked about it afterward. Missed it. No more, no less."
Manager Buck Showalter defended his Gold Glove center fielder more than once during separate interviews.
"He ran a long way for it," Showalter said. "He's spoiled us with a great level of play. Someone said he stepped in between the warning track and the ground kind of gave way, but that's an excuse he won't take. He's so good for us and that's why it gets everybody's attention when he doesn't make every play.
"We put ourselves in position to overcome it. We were right there. I don't dwell at all on Adam's play because he's spoiled us at such a high level of play in center field. That's why it gets everybody's attention. He's special. I'm glad he's on our side."