Orioles-Twins Preview

Although the Baltimore Orioles are in position to win their

first series in two months, the team is more concerned with the

health of one of its stars.

The Orioles are likely to be without Adam Jones, who has been

hospitalized, when they face the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday night

at Target Field.

Jones has been one of the few bright spots for a Baltimore team

that owns the worst record in the AL. He has played in 124 of 126

games, batting .296 with 22 home runs and 77 RBIs.

Manager Buck Showalter said the team wasn’t certain what was

bothering Jones after he left Tuesday’s 8-1 victory over the Twins

in the second inning. Jones started in center field as usual and

struck out in his first at-bat before being leaving with what was

called an illness. He was later transported to a hospital for

further tests.

“They’re still looking into it, haven’t really been able to nail

down,” Showalter said. “We just want to rule a lot of things out to

be on the safe side. We’re going to let them do some more tests at

the hospital.”

Jones’ availability seems unlikely Wednesday as the Orioles go

for their first three-game winning streak since reeling off four in

a row June 6-10.

Baltimore (49-77) has outscored the Twins 12-2 to win the first

two of this four-game set. Mark Reynolds is 5 for 9 in the two

games after going 6 for 45 (.133) over his previous 12

contests.

One more win at Target Field would give the Orioles their first

series victory since June 24-26 against Cincinnati.

It has been significantly longer since Baltimore won three

consecutive games in a trip to Minnesota, which last occurred with

a three-game sweep at the Metrodome from Sept. 7-9, 1999.

Although history isn’t on the Orioles’ side, they could have

some luck against Kevin Slowey (0-1, 6.20 ERA), who hopes his

second start of the season goes better than his first.

After opening the season in the bullpen and spending two stints

on the disabled list, Slowey returned to the majors Friday as a

starter. The New York Yankees welcomed the right-hander back with a

beating, tagging him for six runs and nine hits in 5 2-3 innings in

an 8-1 loss Friday.

“You’ve got to make good pitches,” he said. “I didn’t make

enough good pitches. I left the ball up. Even the outs early in the

game were pretty loud outs, line drives at guys.”

This will be Slowey’s first start against the Orioles since July

25, 2010, when he limited them to one run and five hits in six

innings of a 10-4 win.

Baltimore counters with Jeremy Guthrie (5-16, 4.55), who had his

start pushed back four days because of shoulder stiffness.

Guthrie hasn’t pitched since falling apart late against Detroit

on Aug 13. The right-hander had allowed only two hits and held a

5-1 lead with two outs in the sixth, but was unable to record

another out. He ended up yielding six runs and eight hits in a 6-5

loss, his major league-leading 16th.

Guthrie, who led the majors with 17 losses in 2009, pitched well

in his lone start of the season against the Twins (55-73) on April

21, yielding two runs in seven innings, but was saddled with a 3-1

loss.

He’ll be facing a Minnesota offense that had four hits Tuesday

and has combined for two runs in losing three straight.

Jason Kubel is hitless in eight at-bats during the skid, and 2

for 12 against Guthrie since 2009.