Jones returns to Orioles starting lineup in Texas

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(Updated: 11:15 p.m.)

Orioles center fielder Adam Jones went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in his return to the lineup for Thursday’s series-opening 6-3 loss to the Texas Rangers.

Jones was slotted in the No. 3 spot in the order and hadn’t started in Baltimore’s previous six games while dealing with soreness in the rib area. The 30-year-old experienced discomfort swinging in his final at-bat of the Orioles’ April 6 win over Minnesota.

Serving as a late-inning defensive replacement in the first two games of the Boston series, Jones had been moving closer to a return and took batting practice before Wednesday’s finale. However, manager Buck Showalter decided to escape the cold conditions at Fenway Park in favor of a first-pitch temperature around 70 degrees in Arlington, Texas to finally put Jones back in the lineup on Thursday.

After missing a total of just five games from 2012-2014, the five-time All-Star center fielder missed 25 contests last season due to shoulder, ankle, and back ailments at various times. That total included 12 of the final 13 games of 2015 as Jones was sidelined with back stiffness.

Dating back to the end of last season, Jones had been out of the starting lineup in 18 of the Orioles’ last 21 games prior to Thursday night.

With Jones returning, rookie Joey Rickard was back in left field after starting the previous six games in center.