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Lombardozzi squeezed out of infield picture with Machado’s return

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Lombardozzi squeezed out of infield picture with Machado’s return

Posted on 01 May 2014 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — The Orioles had a decision to make about the state of their infield with the much-anticipated return of third baseman Manny Machado, and Steve Lombardozzi ended up being the odd man out on Thursday.

Despite hitting .292 in 72 at-bats, the 25-year-old infielder was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk to make room for Machado on the 25-man roster, raising a few eyebrows among fans who expected the light-hitting Ryan Flaherty or the recently-recalled Jemile Weeks to be demoted. As is typically the case when faced with these decisions, manager Buck Showalter and executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette sided with the stronger defensive player.

Weeks provides an element of speed that the Orioles are taking advantage of for the time being.

“I think where we are as a club and what are needs are going to be with Manny coming back, just initially [Jemile] might fit us a tad better, but we’ll see,” Showalter said. “But that’s a good tough decision. Two switch-hitting middle infielders.”

With Machado and shortstop J.J. Hardy coming off injuries and the first base position in flux with Chris Davis on the disabled list, versatility is a must off the bench and Flaherty has the ability to play quality defense at all four infield positions. Lombardozzi appeared in 19 games this season at second base but did not play another position as there are questions about his arm strength to play on the left side of the infield.

Of course, the Orioles could revisit the decision if Hardy and Machado play a couple weeks without any injury concerns, which would decrease the urgency for having Flaherty at their immediate disposal off the bench.

For what it’s worth, Lombardozzi’s career .638 on-base plus slugging percentage is only slightly higher than Flaherty’s .636. Of course, the latter is off to a poor start at the plate for the second year in a row and is hitting just .188.

Veteran Steve Pearce was officially back in the Orioles clubhouse Thursday and made the start at first base in Game 1 of the doubleheader against the Pittsburgh Pirates. While right fielder Nick Markakis and Flaherty could still factor into the puzzle at first base, Pearce figures to receive an extensive opportunity as he’s played 94 games at the position in the major leagues.

“Stevie’s been hitting, he’s stayed active during the time,” said Showalter, referencing the fact that Pearce was designated for assignment on April 22. “I don’t think he ever left Baltimore.”

Machado did not start in the opening game of the doubleheader as Showalter and the 21-year-old both agreed it would be too aggressive to try to play 18 innings in his 2014 season debut. The Baltimore manager didn’t want Machado playing in Game 1 and sitting around all evening before coming off the bench to play in the late innings if necessary.

The third baseman said he didn’t do anything special over the last three days other than his normal in-season workouts and admitted he would feel some nerves before taking the field in Game 2. Showalter quipped that Thursday night would be Machado’s Opening Day after the All-Star break, referencing the club’s three straight days off because of inclement weather.

“It’s actually been kind of good for him to take his breath and get settled here in the locker room instead of traveling back and forth to Frederick,” Showalter said. “There’s nobody more excited today than Manny.”

The Orioles will activate left-handed relief pitcher Troy Patton after the first game of the doubleheader, meaning they will need to make a roster move before the nightcap. Showalter acknowledged having a roster move in mind and an intention to keep the roster at 12 pitchers, but that was dependent on how the pitching staff made it through the opening game.

Candidates to be sent out included long reliever Josh Stinson — who would need to be designated for assignment — and fellow reliever Evan Meek, who has an option remaining.

In injury-related news, veteran left-hander Johan Santana was able to touch 86 to 87 miles per hour on a few occasions while pitching in a simulated game in Sarasota on Monday. Trying to make a comeback from shoulder surgery, Santana’s velocity has steadily increased since he was signed in the spring.

Outfielder Nolan Reimold took batting practice Wednesday in Sarasota as he continues to rehab his surgically-repaired neck on the 60-day disabled list.

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Tuesday night’s Orioles-Pirates game postponed due to rain

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Tuesday night’s Orioles-Pirates game postponed due to rain

Posted on 29 April 2014 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — On the night Orioles third baseman Manny Machado was poised to make his return from the disabled list, Mother Nature had other ideas as Tuesday’s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates was postponed due to rain.

The game is currently scheduled to be made up Thursday at 7:05 p.m., but Wednesday’s forecast looked even worse as rain continued to hit the Baltimore area. With the teams sharing a common off-day on Thursday, the possibility exists that a day-night doubleheader will be required to play the two-game interleague series.

Weather permitting, starting pitcher Chris Tillman is now scheduled to take the hill on Wednesday night with Pirates right-hander Charlie Morton opposing him.

For fans holding tickets for Tuesday night’s game, no exchange is required as they can be used for Thursday’s game. The Orioles provided the following additional information regarding Tuesday’s postponement:

Eutaw Street gates will open at 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, with remaining ballpark gates opening at 5:30 p.m. Ballpark parking lots open at 3:30 p.m. and prepaid parking permits dated for April 29 are valid for Thursday’s game.

Fans unable to attend the May 1 makeup game can exchange their April 29 tickets for any remaining home game this season on a “dollar-for-dollar” basis. All exchanges are subject to availability and must be completed by June 30. Complimentary tickets are non-exchangeable. StubHub tickets are also non-exchangeable, but may be resold on StubHub up until 7:05 p.m. on May 1. All tickets are valid for the makeup game.

Ticket exchanges can be performed at the Box Office or submitted in writing along with the original tickets and mailed via certified mail by June 30, 2014 to:

Baltimore Orioles
Attention: April 29 Rainout
333 West Camden Street
Baltimore, MD 21201

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Machado poised to make much-awaited return from DL

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Machado poised to make much-awaited return from DL

Posted on 29 April 2014 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — An impressive weekend in Frederick was apparently all the Orioles needed to see from Manny Machado.

Prior to the postponement of Tuesday’s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, the All-Star third baseman was set to be activated from the disabled list, but he will wait at least another day as rain continued to hit the Baltimore area. The gloomy weather forecast didn’t diminish the good news of the 21-year-old’s recovery from offseason knee surgery being complete.

Machado went 8-for-12 with five extra-base hits and a stolen base in three games for the Keys as team officials traveled to their Single-A affiliate to determine how close he was to being ready. A rainout on Monday prevented Machado from receiving more at-bats as the Keys’ scheduled designated hitter, but there was increasing speculation over the last couple days that the club wouldn’t wait much longer to activate the 2013 Gold Glove winner.

“I felt great. [My] body feels good,” Machado said. “I needed to work on some things and got it done. Go on to the next step. It’s about steps. I thought I was mentally and physically ready to come up here and be part of this team again, and here I am.

Manager Buck Showalter reminded reporters on Tuesday that Machado received extensive at-bats against live pitching in extended spring training contests and simulated games prior to his brief minor league rehab assignment. Machado had roughly 50 plate appearances, according to the Baltimore skipper.

Machado’s return comes just over seven months after suffering a season-ending knee injury at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sept. 23.

“It was a baseball decision, not a medical decision anymore,” said Showalter about activating Machado for the Pittsburgh series. “We’ll take each day as it comes and get feedback from him and his knee will give him feedback.”

Showalter has dismissed any notion that the oblique injury suffered by first baseman Chris Davis accelerated the timetable for Machado’s activation and didn’t seem concerned about him being in the lineup despite the wet conditions that eventually forced Tuesday’s postponement.

The Orioles will view Machado as an everyday player immediately but will be flexible with his workload as they would for any player who might have a physical need arise over the course of a full season.

“I’m here to play baseball,” Machado said. “If it’s snow, if it’s rain, whatever. I’m just here to play. Whatever the climate throws out there, I’m going out there to play no matter what.”

Despite Tuesday’s postponement, the Orioles officially re-signed veteran Steve Pearce to boost their depth at the first base position with Davis sidelined until at least May 11. With Davis placed on the 15-day disabled list and the Orioles not immediately announcing a corresponding roster move on Sunday, Pearce officially took his place on the 25-man roster Tuesday night.

In addition to creating a roster spot for Machado on Wednesday, Baltimore will also need to make room later this week for left-handed reliever Troy Patton, who will be returning from a 25-game suspension for amphetamine use. He has one game remaining to serve on his suspension before he can return to the active roster.

 

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Schoop should stick with Orioles in wake of Davis injury

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Schoop should stick with Orioles in wake of Davis injury

Posted on 28 April 2014 by Luke Jones

It all appeared to be coming together as third baseman Manny Machado started his rehab assignment and the Orioles anticipated having their full lineup together for the first time all season.

Of course, a left oblique strain suffered by Chris Davis has delayed that vision indefinitely, but Machado is expected to return this week, instantly boosting the infield defense as well as helping an offense now devoid of Davis’ Herculean power. Even with the All-Star third baseman’s return, the injury to Davis forces manager Buck Showalter and executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette to alter the way in which they view the starting lineup.

Even if Nick Markakis proves capable of handling the defensive duties of first base — his errant throw on a rundown play led to a run in Sunday’s loss to Kansas City — he’s a significant downgrade offensively just like any realistic replacement would be. It’s why the Orioles may need to take chances elsewhere in trying to make up for Davis’ absence.

In addition to Nelson Cruz filling a full-time outfield role with Markakis in the infield, the Orioles would be wise to continue playing Jonathan Schoop at second base after Machado officially returns. His future appeared to be the club’s biggest roster decision a few days ago as the argument could be made that Schoop needs more seasoning and both Steve Lombardozzi and Ryan Flaherty are stronger defensive players.

But when missing a player of Davis’ ability, the Orioles would benefit from Schoop’s offensive upside while also remembering he’s handled 30 chances at second base without an error. The 22-year-old has struggled bouncing back and forth between second and third base due to the Orioles’ injury-related needs in the first month of the season, but his four errors have all come while playing the hot corner.

“He’s going to turn the double play well above average with arm strength,” said Showalter when asked to assess Schoop’s play at second base. “That’s one thing that steps out at you. He could profile down the road as an offensive run producer that can play the middle infield. We’ll see. I feel confident that Jonathan is going to be as good as he’s capable of being. That’s what makes me feel good about him.”

Truthfully, his offensive numbers don’t overwhelm you as Schoop is hitting just .241 and has struck out 26 times in his first 82 plate appearances as major league pitchers continue to challenge him with breaking balls, but his numbers dwarf Flaherty’s paltry .188 average and he has more power (.405 slugging percentage) than Lombardozzi (.333), who appears best suited for a utility role.

We’ve seen with Showalter’s patient handling of Flaherty that defense can trump offensive production with the rest of the lineup so dangerous, but the Orioles must be more judicious in that approach with Davis missing from the order. Schoop has given no reason to indicate he can’t play a solid second base — the position at which he had the most experience in the minor leagues — and is fifth on the club in total bases and first in doubles.

The rockets he hit in New York and Toronto earlier this month for his two home runs show what kind of power potential he brings to the table. It’d be interesting to see what he can do without the unrest of switching positions on a regular basis weight on his mind.

“You can be in the big leagues 10 years and it’s never going to be easy, but I think the game’s slowing down a little bit,” Schoop said. “I’ve still got to get better. In situations, I’ve got to think what I’m going to do before the ball comes to me. I’ve got to get better.”

A few days ago, it would have been easy for the Orioles to send Schoop to Triple-A Norfolk and settle on the strong defensive platoon of Flaherty and Lombardozzi at second base while watching the rest of the lineup wreak havoc on opposing pitchers. But with Davis sidelined and his teammates trying to pick up the slack, the second base position needs to provide some of the offensive lifting.

While far from a finished product, the Curacao native has shown more than enough flashes for the Orioles to take a chance that he’ll be up to the task.

“I’m glad he’s on our side. He’s got a chance to be a pretty good one,” Showalter said. “But we’ll see where he settles out and see how things go with Manny in the next few days.”

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Orioles move Markakis to first base with Davis sidelined

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Orioles move Markakis to first base with Davis sidelined

Posted on 26 April 2014 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — Veteran right fielder Nick Markakis prepared to make his third career start at first base Saturday night as the Orioles awaited the results of Chris Davis’ magnetic resonance imaging scan on the strained left oblique he suffered in Friday’s loss to the Kansas City Royals.

Davis told reporters he was feeling a little better on Saturday, and manager Buck Showalter described the All-Star first baseman as “day to day” for the time being. The Orioles are hoping Davis can avoid a trip to the 15-day disabled list and scheduled days off on Monday and Thursday would ease the hardship of him being unavailable for a few days.

Markakis hadn’t started a game at first base since Sept. 4, 2011 and was on the field early Saturday afternoon working at the position where he’d only appeared three times in his nine-year career. Showalter moved Nelson Cruz to right field and placed the newly-recalled Jemile Weeks in the leadoff spot as the designated hitter with Markakis moving to the No. 3 position in the lineup.

Whether Markakis remains the first baseman in Davis’ absence is undetermined, but the Orioles have few options on the 25-man roster after designating veteran Steve Pearce for assignment earlier this week. Showalter indicated hesitancy in moving catcher Matt Wieters to first base when he’s not starting behind the plate.

Markakis played first base extensively at Young Harris College before the Orioles drafted him with the seventh overall pick of the 2003 amateur draft.

“He’s one of our options,” said Showalter, who moved Ryan Flaherty to first base when Davis exited in the fifth inning of Friday’s game. “We’ll see how it presents itself tonight. [Nick] takes some work there every once in a while.”

Davis’ immediate future remains up in the air, but the Orioles are optimistic about Manny Machado’s pending return to the lineup after the 21-year-old third baseman went 1-for-4 and started at third base in Single-A Frederick’s 4-2 loss to Carolina on Saturday. Machado is scheduled to play third base once again at Frederick on Sunday before the Orioles decide whether he’ll continue playing for the Keys or will move to Triple-A Norfolk on Monday.

Showalter didn’t dismiss the possibility of Machado rejoining the Orioles for their two-game series against Pittsburgh that begins on Tuesday, but next weekend appears to be the logical target for his return when Baltimore travels to Minnesota to take on the Twins.

“I wouldn’t say anything is [off] the table right now,” said Showalter, who dismissed the notion that Davis’ injury might rush the timetable to activate Machado. “It’s a baseball decision right now as much as physical.. We will have a pretty good idea after tomorrow.”

Here are Saturday night’s lineups:

KANSAS CITY
RF Nori Aoki
2B Omar Infante
1B Eric Hosmer
DH Billy Butler
LF Alex Gordon
C Salvador Perez
3B Danny Valencia
CF Justin Maxwell
SS Alcides Escobar

SP Jeremy Guthrie (2-1, 4.68 ERA)

BALTIMORE
DH Jemile Weeks
RF Nelson Cruz
1B Nick Markakis
CF Adam Jones
C Matt Wieters
SS J.J. Hardy
3B Ryan Flaherty
2B Jonathan Schoop
LF David Lough

SP Wei-Yin Chen (3-1, 4.91 ERA)

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Machado has huge offensive night in first rehab start at Frederick

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Machado has huge offensive night in first rehab start at Frederick

Posted on 26 April 2014 by WNST Staff

Baltimore Orioles 3B Manny Machado went 3-4 with two doubles, a triple and two runs scored for the Frederick Keys in his first rehab appearance Friday.

Machado received his first organized at-bats since his 2013 season ended abruptly due to a knee injury.

The All-Star worked as the Single A (Carolina League)’s Designated Hitter in a 5-3 loss to the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. The Birds had hoped to have him play in the field Friday night but rainy conditions at Harry Grove Stadium scrapped those plans.

The team’s former first round pick was pleased with the work he got in his first outing but realized it did not put him on the fast track to a return to the major leagues. Here is what Machado told MLB.com after the game Friday night…

“I feel good at the plate. I feel good overall, running the bases, which is the most important thing.”

“First game under the lights, first game in front of a big crowd like this, so it’s definitely a big obstacle we’ve crossed and hopped over. So hopefully we can continue it, and as soon as possible get back out there.”

“If I would have hit four home runs, I’m not going to go tomorrow and play in the big leagues. It’s not how it works. I wish it was that easy. But this is just a process. It’s not how many hits I get or how many plays I make. It’s more getting a feel for it, playing nine innings, being on your feet for the whole game. There’s a lot of things that come into play before just having a good game.”

MLB.com also reported Machado is expected to play nine innings at third base for the Keys Saturday and will stay with the team through Sunday before being re-evaluated. The next step would likely see Machado joining the Orioles’ AA (Bowie) or AAA (Norfolk) affiliate to make final preparations for his 2014 big league debut.

Machado had been playing in extended Spring Training games in Sarasota for roughly the past week.

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Davis leaves Friday’s game with left oblique strain

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Davis leaves Friday’s game with left oblique strain

Posted on 25 April 2014 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — On the same night that Manny Machado got off to an encouraging start in a minor league rehab assignment, the Orioles lost another All-Star infielder to injury when Chris Davis left Friday’s game with a strained left oblique.

The first baseman was removed from the game in the top of the fifth inning by manager Buck Showalter before the Orioles announced that he would be evaluated further after the game. Davis appeared to be in discomfort while taking swings in his final at-bat of the evening when he flied out to right field in the bottom of the third inning.

“When I started swinging, [I] felt good in the cage before the game, [but] a couple swings off of [Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura] just didn’t feel good,” said Davis, who acknowledged the oblique had been bothering him for a few days. “At that point, Buck kind of took it out of my hands. Something that we’re going to keep an eye on and hopefully not let it get too bad right now. It’s too early for that.

“We’ll know more about it tomorrow. I’ve never had an oblique strain or whatever you want to call it, but it doesn’t feel so bad right now that I can’t move or anything like that, so I think right now, we’ll just take it one day at a time.”

In Davis’ absence, the Orioles shifted third baseman Ryan Flaherty to first base, second baseman Jonathan Schoop to third, and inserted Steve Lombardozzi in the game at second base. Davis is hitting .250 with two home runs and 13 runs batted in through the first 22 games of the season after slugging a franchise single-season record of 53 homers a year ago.

Machado tripled and doubled twice in his first three trips to the plate Friday as he began a rehab assignment with Single-A Frederick, making Davis’ injury a cruel twist as the Orioles have yet to play with their full starting infield this season. Typically, discomfort from an oblique injury lingers without proper rest, meaning it often results in a trip to the disabled list.

“Until we can judge what stage it is, it’s a little premature because he’s a well-conditioned, strong guy,” Showalter said. “He’s a tough guy. He plays through a lot of things. You take the proper precautions and see where you are in the next couple of days. He’s worth waiting on.”

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Machado Returns To Baseball, To Start With Keys

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Machado Returns To Baseball, To Start With Keys

Posted on 25 April 2014 by Brandon Sacks

Birdland, this is the moment we have all been waiting for since that fateful evening on September 23.  The Orioles are finally one step closer to having their full team back.  That’s right, ladies and gentlemen.  Manny Machado is back.

Yes, folks.  You all have heard correctly.  Manny Machado has officially begun his rehab assignment with Class-A Frederick.

Machado has come a long way since his gruesome injury back in September.  He has worked his way back to be ready to get back to the majors, but has one final step before he can come back.  His stint, which can last a maximum of 20 days, is the final test to make sure that he is ready for Orioles baseball once again.

Last year, Machado hit .283 with 68 extra base hits and led the league in doubles with 51.  The platinum glover sported a .973 fielding percentage with a 6.4 WAR (his 4.3 defensive WAR was the best in the majors).

As long as Machado’s rehab assignment goes well, it won’t be long until we get our all-star third baseman back.  Let’s keep an eye on him over the weekend, but it will not be long before we see number 13 donning the orange and black once again.

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Machado approaching final hurdles before rehab assignment

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Machado approaching final hurdles before rehab assignment

Posted on 14 April 2014 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — Manager Buck Showalter has a date in mind for when we might see third baseman Manny Machado back in the Orioles lineup but isn’t ready to share it just yet.

The 21-year-old took another significant step toward his return on Monday as he began sprinting, running at full speed six times from 90 feet at the club’s spring training facility in Sarasota. Machado also had four at-bats in a simulated game in addition to the sprinting.

Machado will sprint from 180 feet Tuesday before attempting to clear the last major hurdle of running the bases this week.

Should the All-Star third baseman respond favorably to that task, he is expected to play in at least two or three extended spring training before beginning a rehab assignment that can last up to 20 days for a position player on the major league disabled list. Such a schedule would make a return to the Orioles possible by late April or — more realistically — early May even though Showalter hinted that Machado may not need the full 20 days of minor-league games to get ready after taking part in baseball-related activity to varying degrees since late January.

“Manny’s feeling good. Hopefully, he’ll feel as well tomorrow as he did today,” said Showalter, who exchanged text messages with Machado and spoke with minor league medical coordinator Dave Walker on Monday. “He’s been down this road enough that he knows. He wants to get it right the first time. He’s got a lot of good people around him who won’t let him get ahead of himself. The things they’re putting him through, it’s going to be pretty obvious if he can do them, he’s ready to go.”

The Orioles have used the combination of Ryan Flaherty and rookie Jonathan Schoop at third base in Machado’s absence this season. All three errors committed by Baltimore have come at third base where Schoop committed two miscues in Friday’s 2-0 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays.

While the organization continues to be conservative with Machado, Monday’s developments certainly presented some light at the end of the tunnel that’s remained somewhat ambiguous since the infielder complained of soreness from scar tissue that forced him to stop running in mid-March. Of course, the Orioles will at least hold their breath as Machado tries to cut around the bases this week, which is what he struggled with during spring training.

“As Dave said today, ‘He’s got a good face going right now,’” Showalter said. “We all know what he’s talking about.”

In other injury-related news from Sarasota, pitching prospect Dylan Bundy threw 35 pitches from the mound and mixed in some changeups to go with his fastball for the first time on Monday. Bundy is expected to begin throwing curveballs later this week.

Outfielder Nolan Reimold continues to receive treatment on his surgically-repaired neck but is still not taking part in any baseball-related activity after being moved to the 60-day disabled list earlier this month.

Here are Monday’s lineups:

TAMPA BAY
2B Ben Zobrist
CF Desmond Jennings
DH Logan Forsythe
3B Evan Longoria
RF Wil Myers
1B James Loney
LF Brandon Guyer
SS Yunel Escobar
C Ryan Hanigan

SP Chris Archer (1-0, 1.38 ERA)

BALTIMORE
RF Nick Markakis
DH Nelson Cruz
1B Chris Davis
CF Adam Jones
C Matt Wieters
LF David Lough
SS J.J. Hardy
2B Steve Lombardozzi
3B Ryan Flaherty

SP Wei-Yin Chen (1-1, 6.75 ERA)

Follow WNST on Twitter for updates and analysis throughout the evening at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

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Hardy receives cortisone injection, undergoes MRI on back

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Hardy receives cortisone injection, undergoes MRI on back

Posted on 11 April 2014 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — Shortstop J.J. Hardy was not in the lineup as the Orioles began a three-game set with the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday, but measures taken on Thursday appear to have the infielder ready to return over the weekend.

Missing six of the last seven games with lower back spasms, Hardy underwent magnetic resonance imaging and received a cortisone injection for his back and was instructed to rest after previously planning to work out at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on the off-day. The 31-year-old returned to the ballpark Friday to take infield and batting practice and expects to be back in the lineup on Saturday, a sentiment shared by manager Buck Showalter.

“I’ve made a bunch of big strides the last couple days,” Hardy said. “I came in today early and took some groundballs and took some swings. It all felt good. I’ll go through a normal day of practice and anticipate being in there tomorrow.”

Showalter added that Hardy was “more available” to come off the bench in the series opener than he was in the final game of the Yankees series. Ryan Flaherty has been filling in at shortstop with rookie Jonathan Schoop handling third base and Steve Lombardozzi playing second.

Hardy said his history of back issues earlier in his career has caused him and the training staff to take a cautious approach in not wanting to come back too soon and risk the back spasms being a recurring issue throughout the season.

“If I don’t play today, that will be six games and I can still play 156,” Hardy said. “That is kind of my goal. Trying to rush it and miss another six games because I tried to come back too early is definitely something I don’t want to do.”

In four games this season, the two-time Gold Glove Award winner is 5-for-15.

Outfielder David Lough was once again out of the lineup on Friday, but he is available off the bench, according to Showalter. He underwent concussion tests in Baltimore on Wednesday before returning to New York for the series finale and being used as a defensive replacement.

It remains uncertain what exactly is causing Lough’s symptoms at different points since mid-March, but Showalter said the organization is confident it is not because of a concussion.

Third baseman Manny Machado is scheduled to have two at-bats in a simulated game in Sarasota on Saturday, an encouraging step in his recovery from offseason knee surgery.

The 21-year-old will not run the bases but will face veteran left-hander Johan Santana at the Ed Smith Stadium complex. Machado has yet to begin sprinting, but his participation in a sim game can’t be viewed as anything but good news.

Machado will be eligible to go on a minor league rehab assignment lasting up to 20 games once he is fully cleared to play, but it remains uncertain when that will happen.

Right-handed pitching prospect Dylan Bundy threw 35 fastballs off a regular mound in Sarasota on Friday as he continues his rehabilitation from Tommy John surgery last year.

Ravens cornerback Lardarius Webb was scheduled to throw out the first pitch for Friday night’s game.

Here are Friday night’s lineups:

TORONTO
LF Melky Cabrera
2B Maicer Izturis
RF Jose Bautista
DH Edwin Encarnacion
1B Adam Lind
C Dioner Navarro
CF Colby Rasmus
3B Brett Lawrie
SS Ryan Goins

SP Dustin McGowan (0-1, 13.50 ERA)

BALTIMORE
RF Nick Markakis
DH Delmon Young
1B Chris Davis
CF Adam Jones
C Matt Wieters
LF Nelson Cruz
2B Steve Lombardozzi
SS Ryan Flaherty
3B Jonathan Schoop

SP Chris Tillman (1-0, 1.35 ERA)

Follow WNST on Twitter for updates and analysis throughout the evening at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

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