BALTIMORE – Wayne Kirby knew what was wrong with Adam Jones’ defense.
The Orioles’ first base coach drills the outfielders for 45 minutes in spring training, and for three weeks, Jones was absent due to the World Baseball Classic. Obviously, Jones’ hitting didn’t suffer.
“Adam was working with a newer glove that wasn’t quite broken in,” Kirby said.
And, Jones’ timing was off.
The result was some misplayed balls in the outfield and a dropped fly ball that cost the Orioles a game in New York.
“I’m not going to mess with him until things go not the way they’re supposed to go,” Kirby said. “Maybe he’ll figure this thing out.”
After some misplays in Oakland, the criticism grew more intense, but in the last few weeks, Jones’ defense has been stellar.
“It was a joint thing. We know that it’s a small issue, but it’s not an issue. All outfielders go through things,” Kirby said.
“When you miss the reps in spring training, how long is it going to take the get the reps back?”
Jones missed about three weeks in camp, and it took about that long in the regular season for him to catch up, Kirby said.
“Even though you’re coming off a Gold Glove year, and you’re coming off one of the best defensive years you had, it’s still reading the ball off the bat,” he said.
“Maybe it’s a wake-up call. His glove is broken in. His timing is right. He’s playing the way he’s supposed to be playing.”