06/25/09 2:27 AM ET
Jones not overly concerned about struggles
Baltimore (32-39) at Florida (37-36), 7:10 p.m. ET
By Spencer Fordin / MLB.com
"Every athlete goes through it, no matter what sport," Jones said on Wednesday. "I just keep swinging."
Jones, who was having a breakout season before the slump, said that his struggles are more mental than physical. The youngster's plate discipline has eroded as he gets more frustrated, and he'll look to Thursday as an opportunity to get back into the lineup and back into a comfortable groove.
"I haven't been pleased with it for a little bit, but nonetheless, we have been playing well, so I'm happy about that," he said before Wednesday's game, a 5-2 loss to the Marlins. "I'm just thinking too much. I haven't squared as many balls up lately. I'm just thinking in the box too much instead of just reacting like I normally do and just playing the game."
Despite Jones' struggles, the Orioles have continued to run him out there as much as they can. Manager Dave Trembley said that he'd chosen Wednesday as a day off for Jones during the previous series, and he is also aware that the 23-year-old would prefer to play as often as possible regardless of the results.
"He wants to play every day -- just like all of them," Trembley said. "I do what is best for the team."
And on most days, that means tabbing Jones to roam center field and hit at the top of the batting order. After all, he is still batting .309 and ranks second on the team in home runs (12) and third in RBIs (43). Jones is confident that he knows the root of his problems.
"I'm swinging at too many bad pitches and fouling off good pitches instead of just working the count and getting a pitch to drive," he said. "I haven't been doing that the last couple of weeks."Pitching matchup
BAL: LHP Rich Hill (3-1, 5.18 ERA)
Hill allowed two runs in the first inning on Friday against the Phillies, but he rebounded to throw 5 2/3 scoreless innings after that. He gave up five hits and four walks, striking out five. He also chipped in an RBI single in the second inning. FLA: LHP Sean West (2-2, 3.97 ERA)
West struggled from the start his last time out, on Friday against the Yankees, and picked up his second loss of the season. He gave up a ground-rule double to Derek Jeter on the game's first pitch to begin what would end as his worst start to date. Bird bites
The Orioles have lost two straight games, a brief skid that comes directly on the heels of a five-game winning streak. ... Nick Markakis threw out a player at the plate on Wednesday night and leads the American League with eight outfield assists. ... Melvin Mora has hit safely in 19 of his last 23 games, batting .306 (27-for-88) over that span. ... Brian Roberts has a six-game hitting streak, one game fewer than his season best. ... Baltimore is 10-13 when it makes an error and 3-7 when it makes more than one. ... The Orioles are 21-17 at home this season and 11-22 far on the road. Tickets
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Friday: Orioles (Brad Bergesen, 4-2, 3.94) vs. Nationals (Ross Detwiler, 0-3, 4.76), 7:05 p.m. ET
Saturday: Orioles (Jeremy Guthrie, 5-7, 5.09) vs. Nationals (Shairon Martis, 5-2, 5.13), 7:05 p.m. ET
Sunday: Orioles (TBD) vs. Nationals (John Lannan, 4-5, 3.44), 1:35 p.m. ET
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.