February 23, 2017

SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) Baltimore Orioles center fielder Adam Jones has been to the postseason three times in five years without reaching the World Series.

''For us to be a very contending team and to get out of that first round and past that wild card, we need to improve,'' the five-time All-Star said.

Baltimore hasn't played in the World Series since winning the 1983 title. In the Orioles' only League Championship Series appearance since then, they were swept by Kansas City in 2014.

Last month, Jones said Baltimore needed to improve its outfield defense. While the four-time Gold Glove winner admires left fielder Hyun Soo Kim and thought the acquisition of Seth Smith and re-signing of major league home run king Mark Trumbo were wise moves, Jones wanted more. The Orioles added Craig Gentry and Michael Bourn, both superior defenders.

''Those are two guys who have great track records of catching the ball. I'm thrilled to have them in camp, but what you have to understand is that the everyday players are probably going to be Trumbo and Kim or Seth and Kim,'' Jones said. ''You see that they're here so that means that the team is - not necessarily listening to me - but they've been watching the game. It's reality. You watch the game and you see what we're lacking. And it's not any jabs against any other person.Some people just excel at different things.''

When spring training began on Feb. 13, Baltimore Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Dan Duquette suggested one way the team could better its outfield defense would be for Jones to play a deeper center field. Four days later, Jones answered Duquette in the team's first workout by jokingly playing in the deepest part of center field.

Jones denied that he was sending a message. ''We're all entitled to an opinion, correct?''

He'll be leaving the team on March 6 to play for the United States in the World Baseball Classic. Jones is scheduled to make his exhibition debut on Saturday against Pittsburgh in Bradenton.

''The WBC's important, very important, but the most important thing is playing for the Orioles and playing from April to hopefully October,'' Jones said. ''I understand that's most important, but I'm going to go out there and give my all for Team USA because it is very, very important for me to go out there and represent my family.''

Even though Jones has often made his suggestions public, he remains confident in the Orioles.

''I'm not concerned about who we have in here right now,'' he said. ''I just know that at the All-Star break when we're at the trade deadline and we're in extreme competition, I know that the front office will get us the help that we need.''

Notes: RHP Chris Tillman (shoulder) said he is on schedule to make his exhibition debut on March 17. . LHP Zach Britton (oblique) feels improved but won't pitch in a game until his soreness is completely gone. . Manager Buck Showalter said that SS J.J. Hardy (back) received a cortisone shot.

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