How many times will they find him in the lineup?
Jones will play this week. Manager Buck Showalter made it clear over the weekend that he isn’t sitting Jones for the rest of the month. But does the plan call for a home/road split, with Jones staying on the bench outside of Camden Yards? Is there an actual plan?
Showalter has been placed in an awkward situation here. He won’t compound it by burying Jones, who deserves a similar sendoff to the one that J.J. Hardy experienced last season.
The standing ovations, the opportunity to step out of the box and acknowledge them. A video tribute would be a nice touch, even if no one in the organization has stated that there won’t be negotiations over the winter to bring him back.
The Orioles conclude the season with a four-game home series against the Astros, but he’s expected in the lineup this week. I’d look for him tonight.
Jones is 1-for-11 with four strikeouts lifetime against right-hander Mike Fiers, but those aren’t the numbers that matter.
* Fiers is a guy who was on the Orioles’ radar over the winter as they searched for pitching, but he agreed to a one-year, $6 million deal with the Tigers. Probably more than the Orioles wanted to shell out for him. He’s 4-0 with a 2.94 ERA and 0.950 WHIP in six starts since the Athletics acquired him last month.
Fiers is 2-1 with a 2.25 ERA and 0.900 WHIP in three career starts against the Orioles, with five runs, 15 hits and 21 strikeouts over 20 innings. All three starts have come at Camden Yards.
Alex Cobb is 4-3 with a 2.25 ERA and 1.183 WHIP in nine career starts against the Athletics, including two complete games. He allowed one earned runs (two total) over six innings on May 6.
Jed Lowrie is 8-for-16 with four doubles lifetime against Cobb.
* A final decision on whether Double-A Bowie outfielder Austin Hays plays in the Arizona Fall League will come after he undergoes another examination Wednesday on his right ankle.
Hays has been assigned to the Glendale Desert Dogs, but those plans are on hold pending the results of his exam.
It would be an unfortunate setback for Hays, the latest to hit him since spring training. He missed a few weeks with a strained shoulder and the ankle injury is robbing him of more playing time and a chance this month to thrust himself deeper in the rebuild plans.
Sitting Jones would be easier to accept if it allowed Hays, one of the top prospects in the organization, to start in right field. But the ankle flared up again and the Orioles are aiming for an AFL return.
Catcher Martin Cervenka is a near-certainty to be placed on the Glendale roster. He’s expected to re-sign as a minor league free agent.
* I joined others in the media in making the assumption that Cody Carroll would be included on the expanded September roster, but so far he’s been marked absent.
Carroll made his major league debut on Aug. 1 in the Bronx after the Orioles acquired him from the Yankees in the Zach Britton deal. He was optioned after posting a 7.00 ERA and 1.889 WHIP in nine innings.
Showalter was impressed with Carroll’s arm and it appeared that the former 22nd-round pick would get back to the majors this month and continue his education at the highest level.
* The Orioles struck out only 10 times in their three-game series against the Blue Jays at Camden Yards and we celebrated their newfound patience, the better at-bats, how a roster turnover improved the approach.
They struck out 35 times in three games at Tropicana Field to close out their road trip.
Old habits die hard.