Showalter rushes to Jones’ defense (updated)

FORT MYERS, Fla. - The Twins used a two-out double by Danny Valencia and a soft single to center field by Luke Hughes to take a 1-0 lead against Jeremy Guthrie.

Guthrie threw 18 pitches, 13 for strikes.

On consecutive plays in the first inning, Josh Bell made a nice stop on a sharp ground ball at first base and dug out a low throw from shortstop Cesar Izturis.

Jake Fox just led off the top of the second inning by singling to right field after falling behind, 0-2, in the count. Felix Pie reached on an infield hit with one out.


Fox is 7-for-13 with three homers and five RBIs this spring.

Manager Buck Showalter was asked earlier today what Adam Jones needed to do in order to have a “super breakout season.” He didn’t appreciate the question.

“I don’t mean this in a bad way. Same way with (Matt) Wieters and whatever. If I hit .280 and hit around 20 home runs last year and played a real good center field ... and he needs to have a breakout year? What would that be?” Showalter said.

“He is. It’s not what he’s going to be. He is. Shop him around. We like him and we ain’t shopping him around. He’s ours and we’re glad to have him. We like him the way he is and the way he might be. I’m not going to put that around his neck. We do that all the time. That’s only because he’s a prisoner of his skill set. I don’t look at it that way. We’ve just got to make sure that Jonesy is going to be as good as he’s capable of being, and I’m real close to having that feeling. He’s got some good people around him.

“I hear ‘a breakout year.’ Break out from what - .280, 20 (home runs) and 24, 25 years old? Ain’t a whole lot of those cats floating around as it is, so we’ll see what happens. I just left a guy in Sarasota who was soaking wet when I left. He’s been in the cage for about an hour. So the want-to is there, and I think he’s going to really feed off a lot of the people who are around him, too.”

If you’re craving a Koji Uehara update, there’s really nothing new to report. He’s still shut down after receiving a cortisone injection in his right elbow Thursday morning.

The Orioles are being careful with Uehara because it’s spring training and there are only so many bullets in that holster. Don’t use up too many in Sarasota. Let him sit for a week, or whatever, and ease into the regular season.

“It would probably be a three-day thing, tops, during the season,” Showalter said.

Update: Guthrie allowed two runs and four hits, with two strikeouts, in three innings. He threw 41 pitches, 31 for strikes.

The second run scored on a perfectly executed hit-and-run single by Tsuyoshi Nishioka in the third inning. Alexi Casilla scored all the way from first base after right fielder Randy Winn fielded the ball and threw to Robert Andino, who had his back turned to the infield. No idea whether anyone yelled to Andino to throw home before it was too late.

Hard to tell from up here exactly who’s at fault. Maybe it’s a team mental error.

Josh Bell drew another walk in the fourth inning.

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