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Jones close to rejoining Orioles

Jones close to rejoining Orioles

ST. PETERSBURG -- Adam Jones moved one step closer to a return from the disabled list on Friday, but the Orioles got some bad news regarding two of their best relievers. Baltimore manager Dave Trembley said before Friday's game that current closer George Sherrill has had a setback and that former closer Chris Ray won't pitch for his team this season.

Ray, who's spent most of the season recovering from ligament replacement surgery on his right elbow, has progressed far enough to pitch in some Minor League games. But Trembley -- in consultation with Ray and Andy MacPhail, the team's president of baseball operations -- decided that returning in September just wasn't worth the risk.

"You can cross Chris Ray's name off the list. He will not be a September callup," said Trembley. "Andy, Chris Ray and myself, we all mutually agree. There's no purpose of him being active in September. He's done a great job. He's going to complete his program with [Class A] Aberdeen. He's going to have a normal winter of rest, come to Spring Training and then go from there. There's no purpose of him rejoining us in September. There's nothing to be gained from that."

The news wasn't as dire on Sherrill, who's been on the disabled list for two weeks with a case of inflammation in his left shoulder. The southpaw had been expected to throw Friday, but Trembley erred on the side of caution with him.

"Sherrill may be a couple of days behind," he said. "I backed off Sherrill because the other day when he went out to throw, he felt stiff. So we skipped a day and backed his program up by two days. That's what we did with him."

Jones, the team's everyday center fielder, appears to be fully recovered from a fractured left foot. The 23-year-old took batting practice, ran the bases and shagged flies on Friday, serving notice that he can play again soon.

Trembley had hoped to get Jones some live batting practice or a simulated game but no longer feels that's necessary for his activation.

"I'm fully expecting that if Jones comes in here tomorrow feeling pain-free, he'll be active on Sept. 1," said Trembley. "I don't know that there's anything more for him to do, baseball-wise. It's just a matter of him coming tomorrow, getting looked at by [head athletic trainer] Richie Bancells [and] hitting for a few days."

Jones, who's notoriously reticent to admit to pain or sit out, said Friday that he feels ready to play. He said he didn't feel any pain in his injured foot and that none of the activities -- hitting, running or fielding -- particularly bothered him.

"I'm tired. We did a lot of stuff. It's like a pre-Draft workout," he said. "I'll be ready. I'm ready right now, but I've got to wait."

Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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