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06/09/12 12:56 AM ET

Jones sore, but starts in usual spot for O's

BALTIMORE -- Adam Jones, who has been dealing with contusions on both hands and wrists this week, was back in his normal spot in the lineup Friday against the Phillies after leaving for a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning of Thursday's 7-0 loss in Boston.

Jones said Friday that he felt fine, and an MRI taken Monday revealed nothing beyond the contusions.

Manager Buck Showalter also pinch-hit for Jones in the ninth inning of Sunday's 8-4 loss to the Rays, calling it a precautionary measure. Thursday's decision was made in a similar vein.

"Adam is still a little sore," Showalter said after the game. "We picked a spot there to get him out of there and save an at-bat. He got jammed earlier, and I know it bites him a little bit, but it goes away."

Nick Johnson hit in Jones' place. Showalter has consistently stressed the importance of keeping all of his players in the flow of the game with regular at-bats whenever possible.

"Everybody is banged up in some sort or fashion, because you play a game every day," Showalter said. "I get an opportunity there to keep [Jones] hopefully healthy and get Nicky an at-bat, who hasn't had many, I am going to do it."

Jones is the only O's player to start every game this season, making 57 consecutive appearances in center field.

His presence in the outfield and the middle of the Baltimore order has been vital, as normal No. 3 hitter and right fielder Nick Markakis is sidelined for another two to three weeks due to a broken right hamate bone while leadoff hitter and left fielder Nolan Reimold remains out indefinitely until the numbness and tingling in his extremities subside.

Jones signed a six-year, $85.5 million contract extension last week and is the Orioles' leader this season in hits (69), runs (39), home runs (16), RBIs (35) and stolen bases (nine).

Gonzalez's relief making O's take notice

BALTIMORE -- Miguel Gonzalez, who could be on his way back to the Minors as soon as Saturday, has been using his performance on the mound to make the case that he deserves a spot on the Orioles' Major League roster.

Since being called up to provide an extra arm in the bullpen during a stretch when the Orioles only needed a four-man rotation, Gonzalez has given up just two runs in 7 1/3 innings.

The righty has made two appearances -- May 29 against Toronto and Thursday against Tampa Bay -- and in each he gave up his only run in his first inning, following with multiple scoreless frames to keep Baltimore close in games during which the starter struggled.

"He's shown me that he scuffles a little bit in the first inning and pitches well after that," manager Buck Showalter said. "You can see why he was doing well in Triple-A. Command the fastball and it opens up a lot of avenues to you. He's pitched well."

Gonzalez was signed as a Minor League free agent in February and called up from Triple-A Norfolk on May 29 to take Tommy Hunter's spot on the 25-man roster.

Gonzalez had been used as both a starter and reliever at Norfolk, compiling a 1.50 ERA by allowing only 10 hits and five walks with 36 strikeouts in 30 innings.

The key to the 28-year-old career Minor Leaguer's success has been his low-90's fastball, which he's thrown on nearly 80 percent of his pitches since being called up.

The use of the fastball has allowed him to attack the zone, as he's thrown 74 of his 109 pitches for strikes.

Showalter said the organization was experimenting with the idea of using Gonzalez as a starter, an adjustment that may be easier to make in the Minors.

"I don't know, we'll see," Showalter said. "Obviously we've got to make some room if we make a move for a starter tomorrow. We may not have to."


• The Orioles are hosting their 26th annual Food and Funds Drive at Oriole Park at Camden Yards during this weekend's series with the Phillies. Non-perishable food items and monetary donations can be dropped off at any entrance from the time the gates open until the middle of the second inning. All proceeds go to the Maryland Food Bank. Donations are also being accepted at www.mdfoodbank.org/oriolesfooddrive. Whoever makes the largest online donation will have the opportunity to throw out the ceremonial first pitch before Sunday's game.

• Tommy Hunter will be called up from Triple-A Norfolk to start Saturday against Philadelphia, manager Buck Showalter said after Friday's game. The corresponding roster move to clear a spot for Hunter has not been announced. Hunter was sent down to Triple-A for the second time this season on May 29 after allowing six runs (five earned) on nine hits in three-plus innings against Toronto the previous night. Saturday marks the first time since Hunter's most recent outing that the Orioles have needed a fifth starter.

• Outfielder Xavier Avery was named the Minor League Player of the Month for May by the Orioles' Player Development Department. Avery hit .308/.357/.558 with nine RBIs in 13 May games with Triple-A Norfolk. Miguel Gonzalez was named Pitcher of the Month after going 2-1 with a 2.20 ERA in six appearances for Norfolk.

• Second baseman Brian Roberts went 0-for-4 with a walk and two strikeouts for Triple-A Norfolk on Friday. Roberts will complete his 20-day rehab assignment on June 11. He has hit .235 in 12 Minor League games spread between Norfolk, Double-A Bowie and Single-A Delmarva.

• Orioles top pitching prospect Dylan Bundy allowed two runs on four hits and three walks with five strikeouts in five innings for Class A Advanced Frederick on Friday. Bundy is 2-1 with a 3.00 ERA in three starts with the Keys. In eight starts for Class A Delmarva, Bundy threw 30 innings without giving up an earned run, allowing only five hits and two walks with 40 strikeouts.

Greg Luca is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.