Jones went 2-for-4 with a solo home run and two runs scored during Thursday's loss to Detroit. The home run was the sixth of the year for the outfielder and upped Jones' slash line to .273/.320/.416. His 19 runs and 17 RBI are also decent totals at this stage of the season. However, Jones' lack of extra-base pop is starting to limit his fantasy upside. After hitting just 19 doubles last year, he's only recorded five through the first 38 games of 2017. Jones has also stole just six bases dating back to the 2015 season.
Jones (hip) will return to the lineup Tuesday night against the Tigers, batting second and playing center field. Sunday's absence seemed more like a way to get Jones a couple of days off to rest his ailing hip, and the extra off day appears to have done the trick. He'll resume his normal position in Baltimore's order right in front of Manny Machado while looking to get out of the 7-for-35 funk he was in at the plate prior to the injury.
Jones will sit out Sunday's game against the Royals due to a sore hip, Eduardo A. Encina of The Baltimore Sun reports. Manager Buck Showalter seemed to downplay Jones' injury, as the Orioles are likely just holding the outfielder out of the lineup as a means of giving him two full days of rest with Baltimore off the schedule Monday. Jones has been in a funk at the plate lately anyway with a 7-for-35 showing over his past eight games, so the time off could prove beneficial. Joey Rickard replaces Jones in center field.
Jones was ejected in the fifth inning of Wednesday's contest in Boston for arguing balls and strikes with home plate umpire Sam Holbrook. Tempers continued to flare in Boston on Wednesday. Orioles starter Kevin Gausman was tossed in the second inning by Holbrook after hitting Xander Bogaerts with a hanging breaking ball before Jones was sent packing in the fifth. For both players, it was the first ejection of their careers. Jones went to the clubhouse having gone 0-for-3 on the night, dropping his average to .276 through 105 at-bats.
Jones finished April with a rock-solid .309/.369/.479 slash line over 94 at-bats. Jones' batting average, OBP and slugging percentage are all in the top five among MLB center fielders through the season's first month. One could argue that the veteran is the beneficiary of a fortunate .324 BABIP, but it's also conceivable that Jones has earned that mark. The 31-year-old has shown improved plate discipline in the early going, posting career-best walk and strikeout rates. It's more than possible for Jones to paint future months with similar numbers if he remains patient at the dish.
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