7/3/2014 7:37 P.M. ET
Jones can't shake allure of All-Star Game
By David Wilson / MLB.com
BALTIMORE -- In some ways, Adam Jones wouldn't mind having a few days off for the All-Star break. In that scenario, the Orioles outfielder would head up to the Hamptons for a few days off.
But the allure of the All-Star Game is too much to just shrug it off.
"You want to reel off eight, nine, 10, 11, 12 -- however many you can," Jones said. "I think it's cool when you see people are eight-time All-Stars, 10-time All-Stars."
Fan All-Star voting closes on Thursday at midnight and Jones is closing in on the opportunity to call himself a four-time All-Star. As of Monday, Jones ranked fifth, but he has since closed the gap on Athletics outfielder Yoenis Cespedes and Melky Cabrera, who rank third and fourth, respectively.
According to the MLB Twitter account, Jones has picked up a 20 percent boost on Cespedes and an 18 percent boost on Cabrera.
"I took a picture with a lady out in front, she said she voted over 21,000 times," Jones said. "That's amazing. I wouldn't do that for anybody. For her, that means a lot to me as a player that she would take her precious time to sit in front of a computer and click vote over and over and over."
So as much as Jones would appreciate a few days off, he'd rather be in Minneapolis for the week -- and maybe for more than just the game.
Jones doesn't know why he's never been asked to participate in the Home Run Derby, but he always manages to have fun with it. If Jose Bautista invites him he wouldn't just participate.
"I would win it," Jones said.
With a .307 batting average and 16 home runs, Jones will probably be chosen for the game even if the fans don't vote him in, but he needs more help in the coming hours to insure his spot. And then he has to hope the balloting system works.
"That's not up to me," Jones said. "That's up to whoever's tallying these up. I hope it's not like Florida a couple years ago."
O's keep Norris' rehab on track
BALTIMORE -- With a storm moving above Oriole Park at Camden Yards on Thursday, the O's had to be creative to be sure Bud Norris' rehab stayed on track.
Norris was scheduled to take pitchers' fielding practice at 4:05 p.m. before an impending storm threatened that.
"We had to set up a gymnasium today in case it was raining," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "He definitely needs to get this under his belt."
As the Orioles manager walked into the clubhouse before the series finale with the Rangers, he passed Norris walking out of the stadium with pitching coach Dave Wallace and bullpen coach Dom Chiti as they headed to work with Norris.
Baltimore expects that Norris will have either another bullpen session or a simulated game on Friday depending on how the PFP session went.
Norris, who hasn't played since straining his right groin on June 21, hasn't been ruled out for a return on Monday against the Nationals, but Showalter is sounding less optimistic that he will make his return to the mound on that date.
The manager needed a long pause before declaring that Monday is "still in play" for Norris' return.
"You could get it done with a simulated game," Showalter said. "If he's three weeks removed or four weeks it's different, but this is a DL period and he's not that far removed. I'm sure Dan [Duquette] and I will lean toward whatever Dave thinks and the trainers think."
• Steve Johnson is scheduled to pitch two innings for the Gulf Coast League Orioles on Saturday. If that goes well, the relief pitcher's next outing will be at a higher level. Johnson hasn't pitched since injuring his right shoulder with Triple-A Norfolk on May 13.
• Henry Urrutia will begin a rehab assignment next week, although Showalter didn't have any specific details on Thursday. The designated hitter hasn't played since undergoing sports hernia surgery on May 13.
• Outfielder Josh Hart will return to Class A Delmarva on Friday. Baltimore's first-round Draft pick in 2013, Hart was batting .266 with Delmarva before tearing the meniscus in his right knee and hitting the DL on May 28.
• Alexi Casilla had successful surgery on the hamate bone in his right hand earlier this week. He fractured the bone on June 26 with Norfolk.
• Tommy Hunter turned 28 on Thursday. The relief pitcher 2-0 with a 1.35 ERA in 13 1/3 innings on his birthday.
David Wilson is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.