ST. PETERSBURG -- Orioles outfielder Adam Jones was not in Saturday's lineup against the Rays at Tropicana Field, marking the second consecutive game he's missed -- and third this week -- as the organization has decided to prioritize getting a look at some of its younger players.Jones, who is healthy,
ST. PETERSBURG -- Orioles outfielder Adam Jones was not in Saturday's lineup against the Rays at Tropicana Field, marking the second consecutive game he's missed -- and third this week -- as the organization has decided to prioritize getting a look at some of its younger players.
Jones, who is healthy, exercised his 10-and-5 rights to block a potential July trade to the Phillies. He also made it clear in August that he wouldn't accept a waiver deal elsewhere and wanted to finish out his contract with the Orioles.
"Of course [not playing is hard], but at the same time I'm a pro about it and I want to see these guys succeed, and I'm pushing for everybody when they get their chance," Jones said. "Right now is a great opportunity for three or four guys to get some at-bats going down the stretch."
Jones will not be benched indefinitely, though he's not expected to take the field for Sunday's series finale against the Rays either.
"Adam is a good teammate, a good pro. He's really well respected. The challenge, not challenge, but I want to treat him with the respect that he deserves," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "This is a guy who is going to be in the Oriole Hall of Fame one day. He understands what we are trying to do as an organization. He's a smart guy. It's not like he's not going to play the rest of the year."
Asked if the message was explained clearly to him by the front office, Jones -- who spoke with Showalter on Saturday afternoon -- said: "I don't think anybody knows what that message is in terms of what direction it's going [with the team]. All I know is that I'm here and I'm going to finish out the rest of the year. I can only control certain aspects of what I can control, but I'll do it with a smile."
A free agent at season's end, Jones has spent the past 11 seasons in Baltimore. He moved from center field to right last month for prospect Cedric Mullins' arrival and is batting .285 with 14 homers and 55 RBIs in 128 games.
Baltimore is in the beginning stages of what looks to be a long rebuild, and it's unclear if that will include keeping Jones past this season. As for what the message of benching Jones -- the undisputed team leader -- does to the rest of the dugout, Showalter hopes it will create a positive.
"I hope [these young players are] perceptive enough to know, 'I'm getting a rare opportunity here, I better do what I can do'," Showalter said. "It's not always going to be that way. It's important. There's some things we hope to accomplish between now and the end of the year, some of that with Adam in the lineup. That's what I hope they perceive."
Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli**, and listen to her **podcast.