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09/17/11 12:34 AM ET

Caps' star Ovechkin throws out first pitch

BALTIMORE -- Seeing an Orioles No. 8 jersey at Camden Yards is hardly a new experience. Seeing one with a name other than "Ripken" on the back, on the other hand, is a rather odd sight, though Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin has proven to be a "great eight" in his professional world.

Ovechkin was in Baltimore Friday to throw out the first pitch before the Baltimore Orioles hosted the Los Angeles Angels. The Capitals first preseason game this year will be the Baltimore Hockey Classic on Tuesday, Sept. 20 vs. Nashville at 1st Mariner Arena in Baltimore.

A right-handed shot on the ice, the Russian star took a couple of swings from that side in the batting cage with the Orioles, getting a couple of balls to the outfield. He threw left-handed during a pregame toss in front of the Orioles dugout.

As for the first pitch ritual, one that has befuddled other athletes, Ovechkin is an old hand.

"It was probably like five years ago [in Washington]," Ovechkin said, not appearing nervous about his upcoming throw. "Right now it's different."

The two-time NHL MVP met Cal Ripken Jr. earlier this year at a charity event and clearly understands the legend surrounding the other number 8.

"I don't want to take his number in baseball," Ovechkin said. "He's a Hall of Famer. He was the best. I'm lucky to meet him."

Jones scratched from lineup, to have MRI

BALTIMORE -- One lineup card Orioles manager Buck Showalter filled out for Friday had the name of Adam Jones on it. That was a sign the Orioles centerfielder was perhaps ready to bat, something he has not done in a game since September 4 due to a thumb injury.

"He hasn't swung a bat and tested it so we'll see how batting practice goes," said Showalter. "I've got two lineups and hopefully we won't have a rewrite."

Sadly for the struggling Orioles, the backup plan was needed. So are more tests.

Jones was scratched before the opener of the three-game series with the Los Angeles Angels. Following the Orioles 8-3 win, Showalter announced Jones would undergo an MRI on Saturday, "just to see if there is something the X-rays haven't been able to catch."

The 26-year-old Jones said he took four rounds of batting practice on Friday. The injured thumb felt good in the first two rounds, but became sorer as it went along.

"[It felt] a lot better than it did, but not good enough to play," said Jones, who dismissed the idea of shutting it down with the season nearing a conclusion. "If it feels better tomorrow, I'm playing."

In 141 games, Jones is batting .280 with 23 home runs and 80 RBI.

Guerrero still playing strong after 15 years

BALTIMORE -- Don't look now, but 36-year-old Vladimir Guerrero is closing out his 15th major league baseball season with a flourish. If his sweet 16 will be in Baltimore remains to be seen.

Over his last 10 games, the Orioles designated hitter is batting .447 (17 for 38) with a home run and four RBI.

"Very quietly, he's finishing strong," Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said of Guerrero, who signed a one-year deal with the Orioles last off-season.

Though his overall power numbers -- 12 home runs, 53 RBI -- are down from his career norms, the surge bumped Guerrero's season average to .289, tops on the club.

"He's got a chance to lead us in batting average," said Showalter, who added he's enjoyed managing a player he believes is "going to the Hall of Fame."

Showalter added, "I never have to worry about him being ready to play. He acts like he's playing his first game of little league every day. Players seem to migrate towards him."

How much longer Guerrero will be able to play at a high level is a question many have asked over the past few seasons as he's become entrenched in the designated hitter role.

"Two or three times I think people have been trying to say the needle is pointing one way or another on him," Showalter noted. "I'd really caution them about the heart that he has, the desire and the love for the game of baseball, before they say he couldn't do something with his career going forward."

Now, back to that 2012 question?

"He's going to be working somewhere," said Showalter. "It could very well be here. That's going to be more his decision as much as the teams that have interest."

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