Trembley moves Jones to 2nd spot in lineup



July 12, 2008|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,Sun reporter

BOSTON - With his team in a five-game losing streak, Orioles manager Dave Trembley made a noticeable change to his lineup last night, one that hoisted his young center fielder near the top.

Adam Jones moved up from eighth to second, an adjustment Trembley had contemplated for the past week, but indicated would likely occur after the All-Star break against certain left-handers. Instead, it came against Boston Red Sox right-hander Clay Buchholz with three games remaining before the schedule is interrupted.

"I think I've got to do something," Trembley said.

Nick Markakis returned to the third slot, with Aubrey Huff batting cleanup. Jones, who reached base safely in 13 consecutive games before last night, batting .404 with 12 RBIs during that stretch, vaulted over both of them.

"I think I said back in Baltimore that I kept him in the eight hole, even though he was probably our hottest hitter, because I didn't want to draw attention to him. Just leave him alone, let him continue, but we've lost five games in a row, we've played an awful lot of one-run games, and I think I've got to do something to shake up the lineup. For no other reason, I did it," Trembley said.

"If he was hitting .180, you might see guys in different spots. I don't think the numbers particularly mean anything. I just think you've got to do something different than you've been doing."

Jones, who batted second in one other game this season, looked forward to being slotted behind leadoff hitter Brian Roberts.

"If B-Rob's on, I know what pitches I'm going to get - fastballs," he said. "Anytime I get fastballs, I'm happy."

Out of sync

Heading into last night, closer George Sherrill had allowed runs in four of his past five appearances and hits in 10 of his past 11. His sixth blown save came Thursday night in Toronto in only his second outing since July 1.

Sherrill noted after the game that it's hard to find a rhythm after a long layoff - a clear indication that he doesn't feel overused.

"It's kind of a push-pull," Trembley said. "If I use him three days in a row, people are ready to lynch me. If I don't use him, then it's, 'He hasn't pitched enough.' I think he's pitched enough where if it's not a save situation, you're not going to pitch him."

Used primarily in a setup role last season, Sherrill logged 45 2/3 innings with the Seattle Mariners. Before last night, his total stood at 39 1/3. He combined for 74 innings between Triple-A and the majors in 2004.

"I think George probably knows himself better than I do," Trembley said. "If he needs more work, I'm not opposed to giving it to him. But I think you've got to be somewhat smart about it."

Sherrill has blown four saves in his past 11 chances. He couldn't hold a one-run lead Thursday.

"I think with George, like anyone else, it's location and finish your pitches," Trembley said. "I watched the tape from last night, and he didn't throw the wrong pitches. He just didn't locate and finish on them. If that's because he hasn't pitched in a while, I don't know that. If that's because he's pitched too much, I don't know that. If I did know, I'd probably be a whole lot smarter than I appear to be."

Checking up

Team orthopedist Dr. John Wilckens is expected to arrive in Boston tomorrow, but not to provide more information on Adam Loewen's left elbow injury or the course of action he'll take to remedy it.

The purpose of Wilckens' trip is to check on a few players before everyone scatters for the break. Any news regarding Loewen isn't expected until the Orioles reconvene next week.

Wilckens must consult with orthopedist Dr. James Andrews, who inserted a 4-inch titanium screw in Loewen's elbow last year and recently spoke with him over the phone, and team president Andy MacPhail.

"He's not coming here on Sunday to make as statement on Loewen or anything like that," Trembley said.

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