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Orioles notes: Hardy close, but he's not all the way there yet

Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy is very close to being activated after missing 2 1/2 months with a fractured wrist and arm soreness, but he said Monday that he's still feeling some pain above his elbow when he swings a bat.

"Throwing is fine,'' he said, "but I can still feel it when I hit."

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Hardy added, however, that he will be ready to play as soon as manager Buck Showalter is ready to add him to the roster — something Showalter said could be as soon as Tuesday for the second game of the series against the New York Yankees.

"Let's see how he recovers from the work today, but I'm hoping his activation is imminent," Showalter said. "We'll be able to define that tomorrow when we talk to him. We've been playing day game, day game. Tomorrow will be the first time we have a little longer turnaround from today to tomorrow. I think we'll have a pretty good idea what we're dealing with. I hope we're in position to activate him tomorrow."

Whether it's Tuesday or a day or two later, Hardy clearly wants to get back out there and said he's able to hit right now in spite of the soreness. He said he would likely limit his non-game-action swings until he's pain-free.

Orioles prospect Hunter Harvey wrapped up a healthy 2017 and will aim to regain his top prospect status in 2018.

Castillo still in there: Showalter said Sunday that he might use Welington Castillo as the designated hitter for Monday’s game, but decided to start him again because he’s on such an offensive roll and because he wanted to keep Joey Rickard in right field.

“I thought about it, but I like Joey in right field, especially in a day game,’’ he said. “It’s tough out there. There are certain heights and certain balls that if they get in the sun it doesn’t matter who’s out there you’re not going to catch them. That’s true about every field. There are places at Yankee Stadium where you don’t want the ball to go to.”

So, Castillo started behind the plate again and hit his fifth home run in seven games and his 19th of the season, tying a career high. Over his past 11 games, he is batting .404 with six homers and 11 RBIs, and could be a candidate for American League Player of the Week after batting .500 (12-for-24) with four homers and eight RBIs.

The Orioles come up short against wild-card rivals after taking early three-run lead.

Around the horn: Tim Beckham's homer in the first inning was the third leadoff homer of his career, all of them coming in the past month with the Orioles. … Mark Trumbo singled in the fourth inning to extend his hitting streak to six games. He's batting .357 over that span.

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