(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)
BALTIMORE — Already playing with a short bench after optioning outfielder Henry Uruttia to Triple-A Norfolk Friday night, the Orioles scratched shortstop J.J. Hardy from Saturday’s lineup due to back spasms.
Hardy was scheduled to hit seventh and play at his customary shortstop position before the club announced a lineup change just over an hour before the scheduled 7:05 p.m. first pitch. Hardy was described as “day to day,” but it was unclear whether he was available in any capacity for the Orioles’ 8-4 win in the second game of a three-game set against the Colorado Rockies.
The 30-year-old started feeling some discomfort in his back on Friday and underwent treatment earlier Saturday before manager Buck Showalter was made aware of it during batting practice. The Orioles decided to exercise caution with Hardy’s history of occasional back spasms but are optimistic that the back issue won’t be an issue moving forward.
“I didn’t want anything to flare up long-term, so we’ll see what tomorrow brings,” Showalter said. “I thought he and the trainers managed it pretty well. I appreciate him being honest, but he wanted to play. He thought he could play with it.”
Ryan Flaherty was scheduled to serve as Saturday’s designated hitter, but he was moved to the shortstop position while Steve Pearce served as the DH. The only healthy bench players available to manager Buck Showalter were backup catcher Taylor Teagarden and infielder Alexi Casilla since right-handed pitcher Josh Stinson was recalled earlier in the day to serve as an extra arm out of the bullpen.
Stinson was used in Saturday’s game, throwing 19 pitches, but Showalter was unsure whether the Orioles would need to option him back to Norfolk in favor of a hitter.
Entering Saturday night, Hardy had played in all but one of the Orioles’ 121 games this season, hitting .254 with 22 home runs, 66 runs batted in, and a .735 on-base plus slugging percentage.