Orioles notebook: Hardy sits out second straight game

BALTIMORE - Back spasms kept J.J. Hardy from playing Saturday night, and the Baltimore Orioles shortstop missed a second straight game Sunday despite saying he felt 100 percent better.
Hardy was a late scratch Saturday against Colorado and came to Camden Yards Sunday morning with a better report for manager Buck Showalter. The result was another missed game, however, for a player who prides himself on being durable.
Hardy, who has averaged 131 games per year since 2007, said he didn't feel any spasms prior to Sunday's series finale against the Rockies. Hardy said he took some swings and felt fine, but wound up on the bench for a third time this season.
"Coming into the season I wanted to play 162 [games]," he said. "And I felt the first day off, I probably could have played through whatever I was feeling."
Hardy, who is batting .254 with 22 home runs and 66 RBIs in 120 games this season, said he has dealt with back spasms earlier in his career.
"I've learned with my body, knowing what it can do and what it can't do," he said. "And I don't want this to turn into something to where I have to miss a week or two weeks."
Hardy is the third Orioles shortstop to post three consecutive 20-homer seasons, with Cal Ripken and Miguel Tejada being the others. Ripken had 10 in a row from 1982-91, and Tejada had three straight (2004-06).
INJURY UPDATES: Showalter said right-handed pitcher Jason Hammel (forearm) is scheduled to throw twice this week from a flat surface, and he's expected to make a few rehab starts before being activated from the disabled list.
"He told me the other day, I think he was semi-kidding, he said, 'I can go for you Sunday,'" Showalter said.
Reliever Francisco Rodriguez seems to be fine after a strained right groin Friday, and Showalter said he's ready to go if needed. Rodriguez left the game during his appearance in the eighth inning.
Wilson Betemit (knee) continues to make progress and is playing with Class-AA Bowie, and Showalter said vice president of baseball operations Brady Anderson traveled to watch Betemit get a few at-bats Saturday night.
"He's getting there," Showalter said. "I don't see it going much longer than the [scheduled time period]. We could ask for an extension until Sept. 1, but I don't know if that will happen or not."
SHORT LIST: Adam Jones became the second outfielder in Orioles history to reach 25 homers in three seasons, with the only other one being Hall of Famer Frank Robinson. Jones has three in a row; Robinson did it five times in a six-year span.
Jones belted a two-run shot in the third inning Sunday and helped Baltimore to a 7-2 win over Colorado.
TERPS TIME: The University of Maryland football team took in Sunday's game, and standout wide receiver Stefon Diggs threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Terrapins coach Randy Edsall sat with his players in the left field bleachers.
UP NEXT: The Orioles host AL East rival Tampa Bay for a three-game series starting Monday. Baltimore's pitchers are Chris Tillman (14-3), Miguel Gonzalez (8-5), and Wei-Yin Chen (6-6), while the Rays counter with David Price (6-5), Alex Cobb (7-2), and Jeremy Hellickson (10-6).
BIRD BITS: The Orioles optioned pitcher Josh Stinson to Class-AAA Norfolk following Sunday's game. Stinson pitched one inning and gave up one walk and one hit. ... Baltimore is 4-0 when Scott Feldman pitches at least six innings, and 0-4 when he doesn't. ... Jones improved his day game batting average to .384, tops in the majors. ... The Orioles lead baseball with 165 home runs and they're on pace for 216, which would be second most in club history.

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