Baltimore’s Adam Jones is back from Team USA

March 25, 2017 GMT

SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) — Adam Jones provided perhaps the best highlight of the World Baseball Classic, when he took a home run away from Manny Machado with a spectacular catch in center field.

Now Jones and Machado are just teammates again.

“Pretty cool catch, pretty great moment,” Jones said. “Sorry it had to be my boy Manny, but it’s part of the game, part of that process.”

Jones is back with the Baltimore Orioles after winning the WBC with Team USA. The international tournament was an opportunity that clearly meant a lot to him, and now he’s hoping he can accomplish something similar with Baltimore.

“To do it with those guys, it was probably the best experience of my life so far, especially with sports,” Jones said. “Hopefully, we can do something special with these guys in the clubhouse with the Orioles, because it was pretty, pretty humbling, pretty special to go out and represent your country, for all the countries to go out and represent their countries.”

After Jones robbed Machado of a homer, Machado — who was playing for the Dominican Republic — doffed his cap and waved it in salute.

“Great picture with USA across my chest right in front of the logo, in front of some American flags,” Jones said. “There’s one guy who doesn’t look impressed at all by it, sitting off to the left like, ‘What?’ I’ve seen the picture. But a pretty great moment, pretty special moment for that team.”

Jones has been with three Baltimore teams that have appeared in the postseason, but hasn’t played in a World Series.

“My main objective obviously is here playing for the Orioles, but that’s Major League Baseball. That’s just the United States,” he said. “This was on a global scale.”

St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina, who played for Puerto Rico, said Jones owed Puerto Ricans an apology. The U.S. beat Puerto Rico in the final, and Jones said reports that Puerto Rico was planning a celebration had motivated the Americans.

“I don’t think I said anything wrong. I just said what we’ve seen motivated us,” Jones said. “It wasn’t a slight at Puerto Rico by any stretch. I don’t think I said anything wrong, and I would never disrespect a country, because that would make totally no sense.”

Jones got more exposure thanks to the WBC, but he maintains that his real focus was always on his major league team.

“I probably was a little more vocal in the WBC just because I’m ramped up. It’s a different pride factor at this point,” he said. “I just do the same thing I do in this clubhouse, but now I think the world has gotten to see how the Orioles have been successful the last five years. It’s not just me, obviously, but the leadership, the way you play the game, you can’t quantify that in any equations.

NOTES: The Orioles faced Minnesota on Saturday night, and OF Seth Smith (hamstring) was back in the lineup for the first time since March 8. . Baltimore optioned LHP Chris Lee to Triple-A Norfolk.


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