Adam Jones is out of the Orioles lineup for a second consecutive game, which also happens to be only the fourth Orioles game of the season. Jones maintains, as manager Buck Showalter did yesterday, that the problem is not his oblique, but rather something in his "rib cage area," an area that does include the oblique muscle.
Although Jones maintained to O's reporters that he would play if this was September, rather than April, does that really make you feel so much better? An injury suffered in April is not something on which you can blame the long grind of a baseball season. He played in two games and now he's missed two games. That's not what you're hoping to see for Jones for the season.
According to Jones, he is feeling much better today and figures to take the day off and play again tomorrow. Let's hope he's right about that. The discomfort only occurs when swinging, he told O's reporters. It's not like the Orioles are relying on their offense heavily this season or anything.
The second straight Jones-less Orioles lineup, which tonight will be going up against Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer. Surprise! There's a new shortstop:
1. Joey Rickard - CF
2. Nolan Reimold - LF
3. Manny Machado - SS
4. Chris Davis - 1B
5. Mark Trumbo - RF
6. Matt Wieters - C
7. Pedro Alvarez - DH
8. Jonathan Schoop - 2B
9. Ryan Flaherty - 3B
It'll be Flaherty's first game action of the year, leaving Hyun Soo Kim as the last position player who's yet to get into a game, though out in the bullpen, T.J. McFarland and Vance Worley are still waiting to get into a game, as well as tomorrow's expected starting pitcher, Mike Wright.
J.J. Hardy's absence also appears to be injury-related, as Orioles reporters indicated that Hardy is missing due to calf tightness. According to Showalter, Hardy started to feel the tightness before Thursday's brief rain delay, and he is available tonight if he becomes needed. So that sounds like a day-to-day situation that may actually stay at one day.
How are you feeling about this starting nine?