To see the change with the Baltimore franchise, you can look at the progress of one player: Adam Jones.
He served as a main catalyst in yesterday’s victory over the Rays, 7-5, as he hit two home runs and drove in four runs in the winning effort. Baltimore’s bullpen bailed out Mark Hendrickson — who was nothing but terrible and only lasted 2 innings and gave up 5 runs — and shut down Tampa Bay.
Hendrickson was solid in his last start — granted it was only over three innings — against the White Sox; however, could his time in the rotation be coming to an end? With the positive news coming out of the farm, Hill has done mighty fine in his rehab, and should be back up this weekend for the series against the Royals in Kansas City. Mark has been a good soldier, and perhaps was ill-suited to start, but the Orioles needed an arm. I’m sure he’ll be sent to the bullpen, or be a swing man in the rotation, but something needs to be done about the pitching effort when it comes to this team.
I do want to get back to Adam Jones as he is becoming part of the big picture when it comes to baseball in Baltimore.
A lot in the media have been harping on the ability on our young outfielder — perhaps to the level of overkill — but it has been all seemingly justified and well-deserved. They said he’d breakout this year under the tutelage of hitting coach Terry Crowley and first base coach John “T-Bone” Shelby. We were told to sit back and watch this young man develop.
And you know what, the media absolutely hit the nail on the head with Jones.
He on his way to super-stardom or what? This man does not even remotely look like the same player he was in 2008 — I’ve said it over and over, but has he ever come into this own in the first two weeks of the year or what?
Jones has been playing like he’s a 10-year veteran since the season started — not a 23 year old; furthermore, his approach at the plate has signaled that he’s not only been paying attention to Terry Crowley, but he’s gone above and beyond what most expected from him. The kid is batting .358 with 8 home runs and 25 RBI’s.
Is he the next Frank Robinson of our generation? Maybe, maybe not, and while it may be crazy to even compare him with a legend, Jones has the tools to succeed and he’s doing so right now.
Obviously, I’m sure he’ll struggle at some point, but I’ll say he’s given myself as a fan and others a small glimmer of hope of the Orioles finally becoming a winning organization once again.