BALTIMORE -- After 114 consecutive starts in center field to open the season, Adam Jones made his first career start at designated hitter on Sunday against the Royals.
With game time barely more than 12 hours after Saturday's game drew to a close, O's manager Buck Showalter chose to schedule off-days for Matt Wieters, Chris Davis and Wilson Betemit, as well.
"It's almost inhumane in a lot of ways what we ask Major League baseball players to do for 30 straight days, 10 hours a day," Showalter said. "I have a real empathy for them, because I see what it takes to play the game at the level they try to play it at."
Sunday marked the O's 30th game in 31 days since the All-Star break. With a scheduled off-day on Monday, Showalter took advantage of the opportunity to give certain players back-to-back days to rest.
Showalter expects that time to be especially valuable for Wieters, who has caught the team's past nine games, including a 10-inning game on Aug. 5 and a 14-inning marathon on Tuesday.
"It's been a grind for him," Showalter said. "It's as much mental as it is physical. The decisions, and the grind, and the day to day. The pitches and all of the things he has to do. Everybody is going to hit a wall at some point."
Showalter said that players usually get into a physical rhythm, but having to maintain a focus for so many days in a row can be difficult.
"It's a great way to make a living, but there are stretches you go through where you're really challenged," Showalter said. "It's more a mental alertness. Physically, you kind of get into overdrive.
"It's the mental part of it that gets challenging this time of year, because there's such an allure to give yourself an emotional and a mental day off, and you just can't do it."