By Dan Connolly
The Baltimore Sun
12:33 PM EDT, August 18, 2013
Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy will not start for the second consecutive day, but he said his balky back feels “100 percent better” than it did Saturday when he was scratched from the lineup.
Hardy said the spasms that kept him out of the lineup Saturday are gone, but he felt “a little bit of tightness” when he tested the back while jogging on the field. He also took 20 to 25 swings and felt no discomfort at all.
He said he believes he will be able to pinch-hit Sunday -- and said he would have played, but manager Buck Showalter decided not to put his starting shortstop at risk.
“I told them, I can play. I think [Showalter] wants to give me that other day to make sure,” Hardy said. “So, I’ll be available on the bench.”
Hardy had played all but one game this season -- a regularly scheduled off day last homestand -- before the injury cropped up Saturday. Now he’ll miss two starts in a row.
“Really tough. Coming into the season, I wanted to play 162, and I felt like the first day off I probably could have played through all whatever I was feeling, it was kind of a scheduled day off,” Hardy said. “Yesterday would have been a little bit tougher considering I’ve had back spasms before, five or six years ago. And so I’ve learned with my body knowing what it can do and what it can’t do. And I don’t want this to turn into something to where I have to miss a week or two weeks and that’s kind of what happened in 2007.”
Ryan Flaherty is playing shortstop for the second consecutive game, while Alexi Casilla is at second base. Brian Roberts is the designated hitter -- marking the first time the infield trio has started the same game this season.
Here is the starting lineup: McLouth 7, Machado 5, Davis 3, Jones 8, Markakis 9, Roberts DH, Flaherty 6, Casilla 4, Teagarden 2. Feldman 1.
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