Jones can remember his first big league game for Seattle at Toronto on July 14, 2006 but said there wasn’t quite the hype on that game as there is on with Manny’s debut tonight.
“I don’t think it was this big,” Jones said this afternoon in the Orioles clubhouse. “I don’t remember much media coverage about it. I do remember first at-bat I faced Casey Janssen and swung at the first pitch and popped up. I walked my second at-bat and helped out my wOBA.”
Always the kidder, Jones flashing some knowledge of the weighted on-base average sabermetric stat with that wOBA reference.
“First day in the big leagues is the first day any other game you ever played really doesn’t matter to this point,” Jones said. “He understands that. For me it was five, six years ago. I remember it vividly. I was excited about the day, I was 20 years old.
“I texted (Machado) last night about this. I told him to come here, be himself and have fun. Don’t do anything different. The game is the same, it just matters here a little bit more.”
Jones spent some time with Machado and L.J. Hoes during spring training.
“(Machado) and L.J. they were always around me,” Jones said. “They came over to my house and ate all my food. (Machado) listened, he showed attention to detail. He has good people around him in Miami. I’m excited for him and know his family is pumped. It’s a big thing for him, his family and a lot of people in South Florida. I just hope he comes here, doesn’t try to do too much and makes an impact on this team.”
“The Orioles wouldn’t have made this move if they didn’t feel he could handle it,” Jones said. “He’s a smart kid. (The Orioles) saw him in spring training. He stayed most of the camp because of his maturity. This is where you want to be and he knew that.”
It sounds like Jones was pretty impressed with the Machado he got to know during the spring.
“I was glad I was able to talk to him a lot in spring and keep his head straight,” Jones said. “I told him ‘Go out and ball. The only place to play is the majors. The minors (stink).’ How does it feel to be on a bus all the time? This is the place you want to be. Even when you are tired you have to get after it. Manny has been rewarded for his hard work.”