Jones goes hitless in return to lineup

Jones goes hitless in return to lineup

ARLINGTON -- After going seven games without an at-bat due to a rib injury, Orioles center fielder Adam Jones returned to the lineup and went 0-for-4 in a 6-3 loss to the Rangers on Thursday.

In his first at-bat, Jones was robbed of a hit by shortstop Elvis Andrus, who ranged deep into the hole and threw a bouncing ball to first that just beat Jones.

Jones said he felt "fine" after the game, while manager Buck Showalter said he thought Jones looked like he felt "pretty good, all things considered."

"He's going to hide it as much as he can if he wasn't [feeling OK]," Showalter said. "But he's going to be frank with us. ... It's more about [his condition] tomorrow than tonight."

Jones played in the first two games of the year, going 2-for-10 with a double and two RBIs, but he had soreness in his rib cage following Baltimore's second game on April 6 and was relegated to being used as a defensive replacement in two games prior to his return in Texas.

In Jones' absence, the Orioles moved rookie Joey Rickard to center. Rickard batted .250 (6-for-24) while starting in center field for Jones.

"When we were talking about him in the Rule 5 Draft, we felt like at the very worst he'd be able to be that guy that can play all three [outfield positions] and be a guy that can play defense for you late in the game if that's what you want him to do," Showalter said. "So far so good with that. We're still crossing bridges with him. … He's handled it well."

The Orioles used a combination of Nolan Reimold, Hyun Soo Kim and Ryan Flaherty to fill out the outfield during Jones' six-game absence from the lineup.

"We're fortunate some guys picked up the slack while he was out and we hope that this starts a good string of health for him," Showalter said.

Dave Sessions is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.