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Adam Jones' contract is great one for Orioles

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Adam Jones' contract is great one for Orioles

Adam Jones turned 30 in 2015, and he’s halfway through one of the best deals in Orioles history.

Though the Orioles are often criticized, and rightly so, for not being proactive about contracts, Jones’ six-year extension, signed in May 2012, proves otherwise.

While Jones’ year may have seemed like a downer, in many ways, it really wasn’t.

He missed more games (25) than he had in any year since 2009, and after Sept. 1, he batted just .203 in 17 games, but he still hit 27 homers, drove in 82 runs and played a sterling center field.

Injuries caught up with Jones, who missed only three games in the preceding three seasons. There were injuries to an ankle, wrist, shoulder and finally a back injury that ended his season early.

In the three-plus seasons since Jones signed that contract, which was for six years and $85.5 million, he’s been the team’s rock, on and now more than ever, off the field.

Jones has often been good for outlandish statements, but during the final months of the 2015 season, he became something more, a respected clubhouse spokesman.

When the Orioles play well, Jones would sometimes give short answers to why that happened, but something happened in 2015 to make him even more valuable.

As the team struggled, as they lost, Jones became the team lightning rod. He wanted to be the team spokesman. When others were unavailable, he made himself available and didn’t hold back.

There was a maturity about him that was refreshing.

MORE ORIOLES: Let's imagine Bartolo Colon with the Orioles in 2016

Sure, there was still the goofiness, but he’s a husband and father now, and when he said he wanted to speak with team management about his suggestions to improve the team, it wasn’t done with anger.

It was because he cared.

Jones’ deal was a fine one for him, though surely he could have made more on the open market. It was a fine one for the Orioles, too.

Manager Buck Showalter, who Jones adores, said that managing partner Peter Angelos asked him prior to the deal whether Jones could be counted on. Showalter said he most assuredly could.

Jones has been lauded for his community involvement, encouraging minorities to play baseball, his refurbishment of Baltimore Boys and Girls Clubs, and his willingness to be part of his adopted community.

While he’s been active in the community, he’s been productive on the field, hitting 25 or more home runs and driving in at least 80 runs in each of the last five seasons.

Jones has been an All-Star in each of his last four seasons, and could capture his fourth straight Gold Glove, too.

He wants the Orioles to keep Chris Davis and Matt Wieters, and add some outside talent, too.

For now, Jones can rest his aching back. As another sign of maturity, Jones didn’t foolishly try and play through some of his injuries in 2015.

The guess here is that 2016 will be another strong year for Jones, and that the final three years of his contract will be just as productive as his first three—and then maybe there’ll be a few more here tacked on.

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Machado homers as Orioles beat Rangers 6-5

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USA TODAY Sports

Machado homers as Orioles beat Rangers 6-5

For well over six seasons, Manny Machado's value to the Baltimore Orioles has been solely his ability to hit and play the field.

All that has changed, now that the Orioles are looking to receive a huge return for their All-Star shortstop in a blockbuster trade.

Machado homered before being removed on a wet day, Adam Jones hit a three-run double and Baltimore rallied past the Texas Rangers 6-5 Sunday.

Machado was taken out of the game in the fifth inning by manager Buck Showalter after a 26-minute rain delay. The move was designed to get their star player off a sloppy field, because the last-place Orioles are entertaining offers for Machado before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

"Obviously there's a different situation going on with Manny. You all know that," Showalter said. "That had a lot to do with it."

Plain and simple, the Orioles can't afford to have Machado get hurt. Now, more than ever.

"A month ago he wouldn't have come out of the game," Showalter acknowledged. "We know that. You know it."

After being replaced by Jace Peterson, Machado sat in the dugout, wearing a sweatshirt and joking with his teammates.

"I don't know why (Showalter) did it or not," Machado said. "He just told me, `I'm going to take you out. You had a good first half and go represent us well in the All-Star Game.'"

Machado is Baltimore's lone representative for Tuesday's showcase. He has spent his entire career in Baltimore, but his contract expires after this season and the Orioles don't appear interested in locking him up with a long-term deal.

"I'm going to the All-Star Game as an Oriole and as a shortstop. It's just always a blessing," Machado said. "I thank God. I thank my family for always supporting me, my teammates, the fans, the organization. I mean it's just been very incredible."

In a matchup between two teams staggering into the break, Texas got a first-inning grand slam from rookie Ronald Guzman but quickly gave the lead away in losing for the seventh time in nine games.

Machado ignited the comeback with his 24th homer, and Jones' bases-clearing double in the third off Mike Minor (6-6) put Baltimore ahead to stay.

"I'll be fine," said Minor, who yielded five earned runs in 2 2/3 innings. "I'll reflect a little bit and then get back to it."

The game ended when Texas pinch-runner Carlos Tocci was thrown out at the plate on a double by Elvis Andrus. Running from first base, Tocci was tagged out by catcher Caleb Joseph following throws by right fielder Mark Trumbo and second baseman Jonathan Schoop.

"Textbook," Showalter said.

Texas manager Jeff Bannister called it a "situation where they had to throw it on line to throw Tocci out. They executed well."

Tanner Scott (1-1), the first of four Baltimore relievers, earned his first big league win.

Zach Britton, another Oriole supposedly on the trading block, worked the ninth for his fourth save, the second in two days.

Texas broke on top when Miguel Castro issued three straight walks and Guzman sent a one-out drive over the right-field wall for his first career grand slam.

It was 4-1 in the third when Joseph hit an RBI double and Jones doubled down the left-field line following a walk to Machado.

Shin-Soo Choo homered in the seventh to get the Rangers to 6-5.

STREAKY

Choo opened the game with a walk, extending to 51 his single-season club record streak of games reaching base via a hit, walk or HBP. ... Texas' Delino DeShields went 0 for 3, stretching his hitless drought to 28 at-bats. ... Jones snapped a 1-for-16 skid with his third-inning double.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Rangers: RF Nomar Mazara was given the day off after hurting his hand Saturday night in the outfield.

Orioles: RHP Chris Tillman (back) was set to make his final rehab start Sunday for Triple-A Norfolk. ... INF Steve Wilkerson (oblique) and OF Craig Gentry (rib fracture) likely won't come off the DL before August, Showalter said. ... RHP Andrew Cashner (neck strain) will be activated from the DL on Saturday or Sunday to face Toronto, Showalter said.

UP NEXT

Rangers: The rotation after the All-Star break, beginning Friday against visiting Cleveland: Martin Perez, Bartolo Colon, Cole Hamels, Yovani Gallardo and Minor.

Orioles: After the All-Star break, Dylan Bundy will start at Toronto on Friday night.

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Orioles unable to punch in final run late against Rangers

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Orioles unable to punch in final run late against Rangers

BALTIMORE -- Ryan Rua had a tiebreaking, pinch-hit three-run homer in the seventh inning and the Texas Rangers held on to beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-4 Friday night to snap a three-game losing streak.

Cole Hamels (5-8) won for the first time in almost a month, allowing four runs and five hits with three strikeouts and one walk over 6 1/3 innings in a matchup of last-place teams.

Rua broke a 1-1 deadlock with the first pinch-hit of his career, off rookie Tanner Scott. Nomar Mazara added an RBI double later that inning, which made it 5-1 and boosted Scott's ERA from 5.88 to 6.84 over 26 appearances.

Baltimore pulled within a run on Caleb Joseph's three-run double against reliever Jose Leclerc in the bottom half of the inning. The Orioles loaded the bases in the eighth but Jake Diekman got out of the jam by getting Chris Davis on a short pop out.

Keone Kela got the last three outs for his 23rd save.

The Orioles have lost 17 of 20 and fell to 14-33 at Camden Yards, the second-worst home mark in the majors behind Kansas City.

Joey Gallo gave the Rangers the lead when he led off the fifth with a home run off Alex Cobb (2-12). The Orioles answered in the bottom half when Adam Jones hit a double just inside the left-field foul line and later scored on a sacrifice fly by Danny Valencia.

Cobb left his previous start against the Twins in the sixth inning with a blister on his right index finger. He did not appear hampered by the injury and allowed two runs and six hits with three strikeouts and no walks over 6 1/3 innings.