7/25/2014 9:25 P.M. ET
Rookie Jones in select Mariners group with 20th steal
Outfielder is team's fourth player to reach mark in rookie season
By Greg Johns / MLB.com
SEATTLE -- Mariners center fielder James Jones stole his 20th base of the season in Thursday's 4-0 loss to the Orioles, making him the fourth player in franchise history to rack up 20 steals in his rookie season.
Jones entered Friday's action tied for fifth in the American League with his 20 stolen bases and second in the league since he joined the team on a full-time basis on May 5, trailing only the Astros' Jose Altuve (30) in that span.
The only previous Mariners rookies with 20-plus steals were Ichiro Suzuki (56 in 2001), Phil Bradley (21 in 1984) and Donell Nixon (21 in '87).
Jones said getting 20 stolen bases means something as a benchmark, but he isn't getting caught up in it beyond that.
"It just means I'm contributing and doing what I'm supposed to be doing up here," he said. "There's definitely a lot more room to improve. I'm happy I'm at that point right now, but I'm focused on continuing with it."
The 25-year-old is learning on the job and said he's adding information constantly as he begins seeing teams more than once.
"In the Anaheim series, I felt familiar with some of the guys," he said. "The second time around there's a familiarity and I see if they're making adjustments to me, too."
One thing he's noticing is that opposing pitchers are paying more notice now when he gets on base.
"I'm definitely diving back more to first base," Jones said. "I feel like I've caught their attention, but I just want to keep doing that. That's what I want, to have them keep focusing on me and give the guys behind me better pitches.
"As much as they pick, I'm still trying to steal. I'm happy they're doing that. It actually helps me out to see how much of a lead I can get. I want them to pick over. If I get back easy, I'll take a little more of a lead. I want them to pick over so I can see their best move."
Manager Lloyd McClendon has been impressed with Jones' ability and desire to learn and said the payoff is going to come down the road.
"He's done a nice job on offense and there's still some things he's learning," McClendon said. "But every day is a new day for him. He'll make some mistakes from time to time, but he's going to get better. I think he's going to be an even bigger force next year."
Bloomquist likely to need full DL stint for knee bruise
SEATTLE -- An MRI test on utility infielder Willie Bloomquist's right knee showed a deep bone bruise, and the Mariners' veteran likely will need most of the full 15 days on the disabled list to recover, manager Lloyd McClendon said Friday.
Bloomquist went on the DL Thursday after injuring the knee while stretching to reach first base on a close play in the eighth inning of Wednesday's 3-2 loss to the Mets.
The 36-year-old was hoping to avoid a DL stint, but McClendon said it would be impossible for the Mariners to be without a backup infielder for any significant period of time. Rookie shortstop Chris Taylor, the club's No. 8-ranked prospect, was called up on Thursday, and he'll split time with Brad Miller at that position, while both are capable of also playing second or third base if needed.
McClendon had Miller back at shortstop on Friday against right-handed Orioles starter Kevin Gausman after Taylor made his Major League debut on Thursday against southpaw Wei-Yin Chen. But the manager said he won't use the two strictly as a right-left platoon.
"I'll look at matchups and see who fits the best that particular day and put them in there," he said.
Bloomquist is the second Mariners position player currently on the 15-day disabled list, joining right fielder Michael Saunders, who has been sidelined since July 10 with a strained left oblique muscle.
Saunders has begun doing some light throwing and swinging in the cage, and McClendon said he'll accompany the team on its upcoming road trip to Cleveland and Baltimore next week so he can take batting practice with the club in preparation for going out on a Minor League rehab assignment.
• When the Mariners dropped behind the Yankees and Blue Jays in pursuit of the second American League Wild Card spot after Thursday's loss, it was the first time they'd been out of a playoff position since June 21.
• Kendrys Morales is one of just three players in Mariners history with a season batting average of at least .275 with 20 doubles and 10 home runs at Safeco Field, having hit .282 with 21 doubles and 12 homers in 79 games at the ballpark in 2013. The other players to hit those marks were Raul Ibanez (2006 and '08) and Jose Lopez (2008).