Jones loves New York, enjoys his hot streak

May 22, 2008|By Jeff Zrebiec and Roch Kubatko | Jeff Zrebiec and Roch Kubatko,Sun reporters

NEW YORK -- It is Adam Jones' favorite place to play in the major leagues, and it's also the site of the young outfielder's first major league hit. So perhaps it should come as no surprise that Jones enjoyed the best offensive game of his career at Yankee Stadium.

In Tuesday night's series opener, Jones set career highs with four hits and four RBIs in the Orioles' 12-2 rout, continuing a recent surge during which the 22-year-old has increased his batting average to .265. He entered last night with hits in six straight games, going 11-for-21 during that span before an 0-for-4 performance last night.

"I'm seeing 1-0 sliders, 1-0 changeups instead of 1-0 fastballs. I just got to stay patient and take it," said Jones, whose three-run, first-inning double Tuesday came on a 0-2 fastball from Mike Mussina. "Especially in RBI situations, I try to relax even more because [the pitcher] is in trouble, not me. I try to stay back and make them come to me, instead of me going out and trying to attack something."

Orioles manager Dave Trembley said Jones is learning to hit to all fields and has shown more willingness to go the other way, especially when he's behind in the count.

"He's a young guy, and when pitchers get ahead of him, they have a tendency to expand the strike zone," Trembley said. "With all due respect, I'm not so sure they get him out all the time or if he gets himself out. I think he's kind of stayed away, lately, from getting himself out and chasing pitches that aren't strikes."

No plans to retaliate

The Orioles made it clear immediately after Tuesday's game that there would be no retaliation against the Yankees after reliever LaTroy Hawkins nearly hit Luke Scott in the head with a fastball. They considered the matter closed the moment Hawkins was ejected.

Hawkins, who pitched for the Orioles in 2006 and was a popular teammate, denied he intentionally threw at Scott three innings after Daniel Cabrera drilled the Yankees' Derek Jeter in the left hand. However, several Orioles fully expected the Yankees to hit one of their players after Jeter was plunked.

"LaTroy is a great person, and he's not an aggressive guy," third baseman Melvin Mora said. "But you don't want to hit somebody in the head. I don't agree with that."

Catcher Ramon Hernandez agreed, saying: "I wasn't surprised that LaTroy threw at him, but throwing around the head, that's just not right. If you are trying to help your teammate, that's fine. Then hit somebody, but not in the head. That's too dangerous."

Taking it slow

As catcher Matt Wieters continues to dominate the Single-A Carolina League with Frederick, the Orioles will consider moving him up one level later this summer. But he probably won't go any further in 2008. A team official said it's "highly unlikely" Wieters, the fifth overall pick in last year's draft, will be promoted to the majors this season. The official added that it would require "a special set of circumstances" the Orioles don't expect to arise.

Wieters entered last night batting .345 and was leading the league with 11 home runs, 29 RBIs and a 1.049 on-base plus slugging percentage. He has 14 multi-hit games, including three two-homer games against Lynchburg, a Single-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates - the organization that passed on Wieters with the fourth pick.

Orioles president Andy MacPhail is expected to meet again with David Stockstill, director of player development, near the halfway point of the minor league season and decide whether to promote Wieters to Double-A Bowie. The club believes there are benefits to having Wieters remain at Frederick, preferring to err on the conservative side.

Around the horn

Trembley confirmed that Steve Trachsel, whose past two starts have been skipped, will start Saturday against the Tampa Bay Rays. He'll have had 14 days' rest. ... Injured pitchers Adam Loewen, Chris Ray, Fernando Cabrera and Danys Baez are scheduled to join the team this weekend at Tropicana Field and throw in front of team officials. Only Baez is not expected to throw from the mound.

jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com roch.kubatko@baltsun.com

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