Ankle improved, Jones in lineup at DH

Center fielder had suffered sprain while sliding home Thursday

Ankle improved, Jones in lineup at DH

HOUSTON -- Orioles center fielder Adam Jones returned to the starting lineup on Monday against the Astros after missing two games, though he was at designated hitter as he continues to work through a left ankle sprain.

"It's boring DH'ing," said Jones, who tested his ankle Monday afternoon with some sprints in left field. "I am going to try to play center, but if I have to DH, I will DH. I think the important thing right now is to make sure there are no lingering effects and not try to be Superman right now."

Jones was pleased with how he responded to Monday's running, adding that the swelling from the injury -- suffered while sliding into home plate on Thursday night -- has completely gone away. While he never likes being out of the lineup, Jones said several times that he was trying to be smart about the injury given it's only June 1 and there's a lot of baseball left to play.

Still, it's been tough to watch his team from the bench.

"I've been bored, really bored, missing my teammates, missing being on the field with the guys," Jones said. "But it's crazy when I'm not in the lineup, everybody in Baltimore is like, you see people all the time, 'I drove this amount, this distance to see you play, and you're not playing.' That's the thing.

"I'm in because I pride myself in playing every day, so when I'm not playing, I'm bored. I don't know what to do. I'm going to try to get out there and stay out of the kitchen, because when I don't play, I just raid the kitchen.

"I'm not sad. I just want to play. You've been around me. I don't like to disclose about how I'm feeling or how my body feels, but I just want to play, and that's what I've done here. Let's get back to that."

Orioles manager Buck Showalter said as long as Jones comes through Monday's game OK and doesn't have any soreness on Tuesday, he will return to center field.

"Believe me, if you've ever been in a dugout with Adam Jones, you'd a lot rather have him play center field," Showalter said.

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.