Jones leaves game as precaution

Jones leaves game as precaution

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Whew.

That's what could be expressed Thursday following the news that the minor back tightness felt by Orioles center fielder Adam Jones was just that: minor.

A day filled with happenings and misadventures in the O's contest against the Twins in Fort Myers almost turned into a collective "uh-oh" when Jones left the game in the second inning due to back tightness.

But after the game, Jones said that he'd be able to play on Friday and that the tightness was discomfort more than anything else.

"If it had been a regular-season game, I definitely would have kept playing," said Jones, who had a single in two at-bats before being pulled. "But it's Spring Training, and when you feel discomfort, you definitely take yourself out and get some treatment."

With a roster already diluted due to the flu bug that left outfielders Jay Payton and Chris Roberson back in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., the team looked like it may suffer another casualty when Jones complained of tightness in his back following his at-bat in the second inning in which he flied out to right.

The young phenom said the tightness occurred in the first inning when he fielded a ground ball by Twins outfielder Delmon Young and attempted a throw home. But Jones continued to play and then decided to take himself out of the game after consulting with the Orioles' training staff.

"I've never had it before, so it's something you just deal with quickly in Spring Training," said Jones, who has a .500 batting average so far this spring. "But I plan on playing tomorrow. I feel fine."

Jones, the centerpiece in the Erik Bedard trade with the Mariners, has already been slotted as the starting center fielder come Opening Day. Jones came over from Seattle with an impressive resume that included the organization's Minor League Player of the Year honors, which he won twice, as well as a successful stint in the Venezuelan Winter League.

"We just took him out as a precaution, nothing else," Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. "We'll see how he feels tomorrow. If he says he feels fine, he'll play."

And if Jones does play and feels fine, the entire Orioles organization, including its fans, will breathe a huge sigh of relief.

Chris Girandola is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.