SARASOTA, Fla. – Adam Jones made his way back to the Orioles on Sunday morning. On Friday night, Jones completed his stint with Team U.S.A. in the World Baseball Classic.
The U.S. lost its deciding game in the second round to Puerto Rico.
“We didn’t win, so it was disappointing, but it is actually a legit tournament,” Jones said.
“You see how good baseball is around this world. People really want to beat the U.S. They beat the U.S. That’s what their goal is. There’s great baseball around the world, that’s what this tournament proves.”
Many of the best U.S. players, Mike Trout, Josh Hamilton, Justin Verlander, Prince Fielder and Stephen Strasburg to name a few, didn’t play for their country.
Jones said he wasn’t upset with them.
“No. Everybody that said yes, took it very, very seriously. It just didn’t
happen,” Jones said.
The WBC atmosphere was akin to last year’s playoffs.
“Just like it. Every game in Phoenix, every game in Miami, all six games felt like Game 1 through 5 last year in the playoffs for us. Every game was unbelievable,” Jones said.
“I played winter ball before. I remember exactly what it was like.”
Jones batted .240 in the tournament and had the experience of being in Miami with a stadium full of fans rooting against the US in its game with the Dominican Republic.
“They want to beat the U.S. It’s America’s game. I guess it’s a great goal to have,” Jones said.
“We had no home games, which is pretty remarkable. Every game was a road game for us. It was pretty awesome. I love playing on the road.”
Jones had a key double against Puerto Rico in Friday night’s loss.
“That was pretty cool. A big hit in a big situation. We needed that,” Jones said.
“The coolest part about the WBC is that all the players you play against, they’re representing their country and how prideful they are.”
After three days off, Jones will play on Wednesday against Toronto. He’s in regular season shape, he said.
““I’ve played six straight nine-inning games, so my body feels good. I’ve got a little over two weeks. Opening day, I’ll be ready for that
for sure,” Jones said.
Jones said he would play for Team U.S.A. in 2017 if he was asked.
Manager Buck Showalter said he enjoyed having Jones’ presence back in the clubhouse.
“A great experience to be on the national team. We’ve already had some great conversations on things. He always has a unique perspective on things, very honest and sincere,” Showalter said..
Showalter laughed when he was asked if he would consider managing Team U.S.A. at some team in the future.
“It’s got some similarities to managing the All-Star team,” Showalter said.
“The timing is a lot different, though. American players are so ingrained in the spring training clock.”