DETROIT -- Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy has been dealing with "light back spasms" for the past two days and is being given Friday's game off.
Hardy apparently felt the spasms most when jumping for a liner, and Orioles manager Buck Showalter did not want to take any chances with his All-Star shortstop, especially after the quick turnaround (they had to wait for their charter plane to come in Thursday night and didn’t get into the team hotel in Detroit until about 4 a.m. Friday).
“We had a lot of things with the flight, the sleep, the weather,” Showalter said. “We didn't want it to turn into something else. I was considering it anyway.”
Hardy said he expects to be in Saturday’s lineup against the Tigers. Showalter said Hardy is available to play Friday if needed off the bench.
To take Hardy’s spot in the lineup, Ryan Flaherty moves from third to shortstop and Jonathan Schoop will make his first start at third base in the majors. The rookie has played six big league games, all at second. Steve Lombardozzi will start at second.
Showalter said he talked with infield coach Bobby Dickerson, and Dickerson said that alignment would be the most sound defensively – however, Showalter said he’d feel confident having Schoop or Lombardozzi play shortstop if necessary.
Catcher Matt Wieters also is getting the day off. Showalter said that was the plan all along – to have Wieters get a day game off after the night game in Baltimore. The Orioles play five consecutive day games.
Kevin Gausman is expected to start tonight’s game for Triple-A Norfolk, assuming the Orioles get their game in this afternoon in Detroit. (It’s damp, 40 degrees and ugly here, but the first pitch is now scheduled for 1:15 p.m., barely a delay.)
Gausman was supposed to pitch the Tides’ opener on Thursday but was a healthy scratch, because the Orioles thought they may need him if they have to have a doubleheader Saturday.
Assuming that doesn’t happen, Gausman will start Friday for Norfolk, Steve Johnson on Saturday and T.J. McFarland on Sunday.
Here are the lineups for Friday’s Orioles game:
Orioles: Markakis, 9, Lough 7, Jones 8, Davis 3, Cruz DH, Clevenger 2, Schoop 5, Flaherty 6, Lombardozzi 4. Gonzalez 1.
Tigers: Kinsler 5, Hunter 9, Cabrera 3, Martinez DH, Jackson 8, Avila 2, Castellanos 5, Romine 6, Davis 7. Sanchez 1.