NEW YORK (AP) — Banged-up center fielder Adam Jones was out of the Baltimore lineup, but still managed to track down some balls and make a perfect relay to his young fans.
A sore right shoulder kept Jones from playing Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium. So the star outfielder took up a perch in the Orioles’ third base dugout, leaning on a railing near the box seats toward the home plate side.
After New York batted in the bottom of the first inning, four children — two of them wearing Oriole orange — wandered over from several sections away and stood in the stands about 30 feet from Jones, hoping he would notice them.
Jones soon saw the group. He said he knew them, they were related to his wife, and held up his hand while telling them to wait a moment. But when play resumed in the top of the second, the four kids returned to their seats behind the backstop.
A minute later, Jones had four shiny, new baseballs in his hand, but no one to give them to. Persistent, he kept scanning the stands and eventually spotted them.
Jones then summoned a security guard and handed him the souvenirs. The guard gave them to an usher, who walked over and presented them to the excited kids before the bottom of the second.
Smiling, the kids waved to Jones. He smiled and waved back — another nice play for a guy who ranks among the major league leaders in assists.
“I always try to make it a good day for kids at the ballpark,” he said after a 2-1 win over the Yankees.
Before the game, Jones said he was surprised to see he wasn’t starting against the Yankees. He said he felt well enough to play but instead would get a day off to rest.
“I didn’t really ask him,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “I know what he’s going to say.”
“Hopefully, he’ll be back tomorrow,” he said.
Jones exited Monday’s 8-6 loss at Yankee Stadium after aggravating his shoulder making a throw. He’s also is dealing with a sore right wrist.
“There’s a lot of things hurting,” he said, adding he wanted his body to heal for this season and beyond.
Baltimore activated shortstop J.J. Hardy from the 15-day disabled list and put him in the lineup. He had been out since Aug. 24 because of a strained left groin.
The Orioles recalled outfielder Dariel Alvarez from Class A Frederick. He made his big league debut Aug. 28 and has played four games with Baltimore.