O's Keep Jones Sidelined Again

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

Notebook

Cautious Trembley Sits His All-star For 4th Game In Row

August 28, 2009|By Kevin Van Valkenburg | Kevin Van Valkenburg,kevin.vanvalkenburg@baltsun.com

Adam Jones stood in front of his locker Thursday, doing his best to keep his obvious frustrations from boiling over. But every time he took a bite of his granola bar, it felt like a small window into his mind-set. He didn't eat it as much as attack it, taking vicious, angry bites between answers to questions from reporters.

Jones' name wasn't in the lineup for the fourth straight game Thursday, although the team believes he is close to returning. He hasn't played since Sunday's 5-4 win over the Chicago White Sox, during which he was removed before the bottom of the first inning with back spasms. The spasms are gone, but the team's medical staff decided to play it safe and rest its All-Star center fielder for at least one more day because of lingering soreness.

"I never had a problem with my back," said Jones, who said he didn't run or take swings in the batting cage before the game. "I had no idea how long it would last. I hate sitting on the bench."

Orioles manager Dave Trembley said he sympathized with Jones' disappointment at sitting out but didn't want to see the 24-year-old aggravate the injury and have to begin his rehabilitation all over again, keeping him out for an extended period.

"He's close to being ready to play, and he's not happy that he's not playing," Trembley said. "But at the advice of our head athletic trainer [Richie Bancells], we're going to give it another day. I think [the trainers] are waiting for a little better range of motion. All the spasms have gone, but if he really twisted it swinging, he may re-aggravate it and we'd be back at step one, and I don't want to do that. I'm hoping he'll be ready to play [Friday], but I can't guarantee that."

The silver lining to Jones' injury is that it gave outfielder Felix Pie another chance to crack the lineup and face left-handed pitching. Pie came into the game batting just .125 against lefties, but he had a single in his first at-bat against Indians starter Aaron Laffey, a Cumberland native.

Roberts doesn't start either

Jones isn't the only one hurting. Trembley also kept second baseman Brian Roberts out of the starting lineup, saying his leadoff hitter is really "banged-up." The Orioles didn't land at the airport after returning from Minnesota until 3 a.m. Thursday, and Trembley wanted to give Roberts a chance to recover because he has been playing through various injuries all season.

"Brian's been banged-up since the All-Star break," Trembley said. "He hasn't said a word and has played outstanding. I'm not going to go into specifics; I'm just going to give him a day off."

Roberts, however, pinch hit for Robert Andino, who had filled in at second base, in the ninth inning. He hit a broken-bat grounder, on which Indians shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera made a nice play, fielding the ball on the right side of second base and just beating Roberts with his throw.

Shortstop Cesar Izturis took Roberts' spot at the top of the order.

Aubrey's old team

Michael Aubrey wasn't in the starting lineup against his former team Thursday night but there is a good chance he'll play at some point in the series. Since the Orioles called him up from Triple-A Norfolk on Aug. 18, Aubrey has gone 6-for-17 (.375) and hit safely in every game. On Tuesday against the Twins he had three RBIs.

"I have a lot of good friends on that team, and there are a lot of good people over there," said Aubrey, whom the Indians selected with the 11th overall pick in the 2003 amateur draft.

"I wished them well when I left and I continue to wish them well. ... I was a little surprised [when the trade happened] because I didn't know there was any talk going on. At the time, I was leaving a last-place team with the [Columbus] Clippers to go to a first-place team in Norfolk, so I kind of had some laughs with those guys."

Aubrey said he didn't have any expectations when he was called up to the Orioles, mostly to fill the void left when first baseman Aubrey Huff was traded to the Detroit Tigers, and that his only goal was to play well enough to stay in the major leagues. So far he has done that.

"I [feel] like I've helped out," Aubrey said. "When I get the opportunity to play, I just want to play solid defense, not make any mistakes and put up good at-bats. I want to be able to stay and help the team out. That starts with a good first impression. You don't want to give them any reason to doubt you."

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