Excited Jones says Orioles can win, isn't concerned by rest of division
Orioles center fielder Adam Jones, who was on his way to batting practice under the watchful eye of Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn, was extolling the virtues of Derrek Lee and the Orioles’ other offseason additions when he was quickly informed that his team had just agreed to terms with reliever Kevin Gregg.
“We signed him, too?” Jones asked.
Asked whether he liked that move, Jones said, “I don’t like facing him so that should give you your answer.”
Jones said he had recently gotten off the phone with Orioles reliever Michael Gonzalez, and the two were talking about the improvements the team has made this offseason, further adding to his excitement for spring training.
“They brought in some good players, point blank,” Jones said. “There’s nothing else you can say about that. They brought in good young talent [in J.J. Hardy and Mark Reynolds], a good veteran first baseman [in Lee]. And you [know] he is a true first baseman. You don’t have to move [Luke Scott] there and have him learn a new position. You have to play first base good because that’s an important position for your infield, and he knows what he’s doing over there.”
Jones was particularly excited about the potential Lee signing. He said he knows Lee’s brother and father from living in the Southern California area, but he’s looking forward to getting to know Derrek better.
“He’s a great dude,” Jones said. “I think he’s going to come in fit in and add that leadership. He’s going to take this team where it needs to go. That was a real good move. He’s one of the first guys I thought of [earlier this offseason].”
As for the current state of the team, Jones said: “We look good right now. I’m excited. We have a good young nucleus, and they are adding some veteran pieces. We can win. I don’t care what these other teams are doing. I don’t care what the Red Sox have done, what the Yankees are doing. You still have to go out and play. I’m not afraid of any of those teams. We have a better team, and I’m excited.”
Jones, who is staying in San Diego this offseason, has been working out and taking batting practice at San Diego State University. There, he has worked a little with Gwynn, who coaches the Aztecs baseball team. Jones said that he has also worked with Gwynn occasionally in past offseasons.
“I don’t know when I have to be at spring training, but I’m excited,” Jones said.
The conversation did turn slightly somber when Jones was asked about his teammate Alfredo Simon, who is being held by authorities in Dominican Republic and facing questions about his role in a shooting over this past weekend. Jones has been supportive of Simon in the past.
“That’s going to be handled by the authorities,” Jones said. “He’s in a situation that nobody wants to be in. I’ve read whatever I can read on it. He’s saying that he’s not the guy to do it. I hope it’s true, and I hope I see him at spring training.”
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