Jones returns as defensive replacement vs. Sox

Outfielder (rib cage soreness) hadn't seen game action since Wednesday

Jones returns as defensive replacement vs. Sox

BALTIMORE -- Adam Jones, who hadn't played since Wednesday, was not in the O's starting lineup Monday against the Red Sox, but he entered the game as a defensive replacement in the ninth inning, playing center field. The Orioles won, 9-7.

"I think it's smart to not try to aggravate it," Jones said before the game. He is dealing with rib cage soreness, which he said is not an oblique issue.

Jones didn't expect to play Monday, though manager Buck Showalter cautioned reporters after the game that it doesn't necessarily mean he's more confident about where Jones is in his recovery.

"Not any more than I was. I've been thinking about it last night and today that when he plays, if he has a problem with it, it's going to be a full 15 days, so I wasn't concerned about the backdate days [for the disabled list]," Showalter said. "The more I thought about it, when he plays -- maybe it's tomorrow, maybe it's the next day -- if he has a big problem with it, it's not going to be five days, it's going to be 15. So I said, 'The heck with it. We're going to try to win a game here.' Obviously, the outfield was a challenge for everybody today."

In Jones' place in the starting lineup was Rule 5 Draft pick Joey Rickard, who has done an outstanding job and is batting .409 with a homer and three RBIs after going 1-for-4 on Monday.

"The depth of this team is tremendous. I step out -- I'm not saying I'm the most important person here -- but Nolan [Reimold] is fielding great. Rickard is fielding great in center field, [Hyun Soo] Kim yesterday with a couple knocks and some solid defense. Our lineup is deep," Jones said. "It's good that I don't feel like I have to rush myself back here to prove anything. The guys understand that I'm going through something and they are all supportive and say, 'Take your time'. Me missing five or six games is better than me missing a month of two."

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.