TORONTO — Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy said Thursday before the game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre that he will no longer comment on anything having to do with contract extension talks until there are developments in the matter.

Hardy, 31, who is set to become a free agent at the end of the season, has said that he wants to remain with the Orioles. He has fielded constant questions about an extension since the offseason, and he doesn't want to make his lingering contract status a distraction on the field.

"There's nothing to discuss," Hardy said Thursday about extension talks. "I don't want to make stories that don't need to be made. There's been no discussions, so I do not want to talk about it anymore until something changes."

Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette mentioned to Hardy twice during the offseason — first at the Gold Glove awards banquet in November and again at Orioles FanFest in February — that the team is interested in extending him.

Club representatives met with his agent during spring training, but there haven't been any talks since then.

Showalter on pine tar for pitchers

When Showalter was asked Thursday about New York Yankees right-hander Michael Pineda being ejected from a game Wednesday for having pine tar on his neck, the Orioles manager said the problem is really that the baseballs being used are difficult to grip.

"The problem is the baseballs, because if you put mud on them in 40 degrees, they're going to be slick," Showalter said. "When there's no humidity in the air, that's why guys are always trying to find some moisture to try to grip the baseball. Why do hitters have pine tar? Infielders might have something to help them grip the ball when it's cold."

Showalter said the act of rubbing up baseballs with mud to help with grip is "archaic."

"If you're in a 3 1/2-hour game, watch how much whiter the balls get in the [late] innings," he said. "They can't rub them up properly. There's a difference in colors of the baseball, depending on who rubs them up."

Around the horn

Orioles top pitching prospect Dylan Bundy, who is rehabbing in Sarasota from Tommy John surgery last June, will throw his second 40-pitch bullpen session that will include breaking balls today. He began throwing breaking balls in his session Wednesday, throwing eight curveballs. That number will increase gradually. … Left-hander Johan Santana, recovering from his second shoulder surgery in a three-year span, is also expected to throw a bullpen session. He remains on a five-day schedule to simulate a spot in the rotation, and the team is monitoring his recovery days. Santana is also working on his fastball velocity, which is now in the mid-80s. … Left-hander Troy Patton pitched a scoreless inning for Norfolk on Thursday, striking out one batter. He threw seven of his eight pitches for strikes. … With two RBIs Thursday, Nelson Cruz now has 23 in April, the first time in his career he has posted 20 or more RBIs in the month. Miguel Tejada holds the club record for RBIs in April with 31 in 2005. … On Wednesday, Cruz hit a grand slam and a solo home run, becoming the first Orioles player to hit two homers in a game since Ryan Flaherty on Sept. 25. … The Orioles are 11-5 when they do not record an error and 0-5 when they make at least one error.

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