Orioles' Jones Tries His Hand At A New Field

All-star Game Notebook

July 15, 2009|By Phil Rogers and Dave van Dyck | Phil Rogers and Dave van Dyck,Tribune Newspapers

ST. LOUIS - -Driving in a go-ahead run is nothing new for Adam Jones. But the Orioles' lone representative in the All-Star Game did have a first-time experience Tuesday.

Jones came off the American League bench and played right field, which he had never done in his two years with the Orioles. American League manager Joe Maddon essentially had three center fielders in the game, with the Tampa Bay Rays' Carl Crawford in left and the Detroit Tigers' Curtis Granderson in center.

Jones' sacrifice fly in the eighth inning scored Granderson, who had tripled. It came off the San Diego Padres' Heath Bell, on an 0-2 pitch.

Selig speaks out

Count Commissioner Bud Selig among those who didn't think it was fair that Manny Ramirez was able to play in the minor leagues while serving a 50-game suspension for a positive test for performance-enhancing drugs.

Philadelphia Phillies left-hander J.C. Romero was also able to rehabilitate in the minors while serving a 50-game suspension at the start of the 2009 season. But Selig said he hopes the next labor agreement changes those terms.

"It's a tough thing," Selig said. "That's a negotiated settlement. But that should be changed. ... A guy should sit for the full 50 games and then do what he has to do to get ready to play."

Ramirez, the Los Angeles Dodgers left fielder, played five games in the minors at the end of his suspension to get ready to return.

Selig said he hasn't been surprised by the Dodger fans' positive response to Ramirez.

"Fans, they want their teams to win," he said. "This player has been disciplined, he's back, they're in first place and he can help them win."

Late call for Figgins

Chone Figgins spent his day traveling to St. Louis for the All-Star Game. He was a late addition to the American League team, replacing Evan Longoria (infected fingertip), and wasn't expected to arrive at Busch Stadium until almost game time.

"About 5:20 on the ground, and special escort over here to Busch Stadium," Maddon said. "He was going to see if he could beat the president."

Maddon, the longtime Los Angeles Angels player and coach, was thrilled to be able to add Figgins. He had hated leaving him off the team, as the popular Angels veteran is hitting .310 and leading the AL with 68 runs and seven triples.

Maddon regretted not being able to call Figgins personally with the news.

"The wheels had to be set in motion to get him here, and I did not have a chance to tell him that personally," Maddon said. "When he gets here, I will greet him properly."

Maddon said he didn't decide to take Longoria off the team until 9 a.m. Tuesday. He said Figgins earned his way onto the team but remembers how Figgins' mother used to bring food to the visiting clubhouse when the Angels visited Tampa Bay. He is from suburban Tampa, Fla.

"His mom used to bring us really good barbecue chicken and ribs anytime we played in town," Maddon said. "Baked beans that had cinnamon."

Longoria stays

Longoria was disappointed he had to miss the start. He remained at Busch Stadium and doesn't expect to miss any time when the season resumes.

"You don't want to come to an All-Star Game to sit on the bench and watch," Longoria said. " ... It would be a disservice to [the AL team] to go out and try to play and win a game when I'm not up to full health."

Longoria joined Torii Hunter and Dustin Pedroia in having been replaced on the AL team. The National League also lost three selected All-Stars, with Carlos Beltran and pitchers Jonathan Broxton and Matt Cain declared unfit after earning spots on the team.

Cubs sale status

Selig downplayed the possibility of the Chicago Cubs' filing for bankruptcy as a step in their sale to the group headed by Tom Ricketts.

"I practice law without a license, and sometimes I practice medicine without an education," Selig said. "But don't know that I want to get into bankruptcy law. I've been told [the media] is making too much of that. If [the Cubs] are placed in bankruptcy, I'm told it will only be for a very short time, to clear the club and get moving forward. That's in their best interests."

Selig will be happy not to have to discuss the sale of the Cubs, which has been a topic since Sam Zell put together the deal to purchase Tribune Co. in April 2007.

"I wish the Cubs sale was much more expeditious, no question about that," Selig said during an interview with members of the Baseball Writers Association of America. "The club will be much better off when they have an owner, an owner just for that team. Hopefully we're moving toward that. But I told you that last year, too. I think we are coming to the moment of truth on that."

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