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Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy feeling better, but still out of starting lineup with back spasms

NEW YORK – Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy is out of today’s starting lineup again with back spasms, but he said he is feeling better after receiving his first round of treatment.

“It’s still a little bit tight, but it’s definitely getting better,” Hardy said. “We’ll see. I’m basically through my first round of treatments today. I’ll probably do the same thing again and go from there.”

Hardy said he didn’t know whether he’d take batting practice or take grounders today and was uncertain whether he’d be able to play in the game Tuesday afternoon against the New York Yankees.

“I don’t know,” Hardy said. “We’ll see. I told everyone the other day that, once the muscles relax, then it happens really quickly, and you get better. But you’ve got to get those muscles to relax first.

“I don’t know, we’ll see how the treatments go and see what I feel like doing.”

Orioles manager Buck Showalter wouldn't say if Hardy was available off the bench today. Before today’s game, Showalter said there were no plans for Hardy to get any tests on his back.

“[That’s] probably something I’ll discuss with [head trainer] Richie [Bancells] after batting practice to see what direction we are going to go with that if there’s a need. It hasn’t been expressed to me yet.”

Hardy, who has missed three of the past four games with back spasms, said the injury has been frustrating considering how he has been healthy all spring.

“It was probably the healthiest spring training I’ve had yet, with everything feeling good and then this came out of nowhere,” he said.

Showalter admitted there is some concern since Hardy has played through injuries in the past.

“I think because of the history and knowing J.J. [and] some of the stuff he played through last year, but not to this level,” Showalter said. “We just want it resolved now. Lot of guys have stuff that they play with that we don't make note of, but this one just hampers him.

“I guess he counts ground balls, it was his 21st ground ball, just kind of locked up on him,” Showalter said. “He’s better today than he was yesterday. So, we will see what the game brings; see what he feels like by game time if he’s available.”

Also of note:

-- Left-hander Johan Santana will pitch in a two-inning simulated game today in which he pitches an inning, sits down and then goes out and pitches again.

-- Nolan Reimold is not doing baseball activities in Sarasota, Fla., Showalter said, only getting treatment for his neck. That’s peculiar because when the Orioles placed him on the 15-day disabled list to start the season, it seemed like he just needed to get more time playing in games so his neck could get adjusted to the rigors of playing the outfield.

-- Right-hander Dylan Bundy is scheduled to throw a 30-pitch bullpen session today off a full mound. He will throw all fastballs. The next step would be incorporating changeups and breaking balls.

-- Showalter said third baseman Manny Machado had a “step up” day today in his rehab from left knee surgery.

-- Outfielder Francisco Peguero will start baseball activities and a hitting progression today after getting the cast off his right wrist.

Here are today's starting lineups:

David Lough LF
Nick Markakis RF
Adam Jones CF
Chris Davis 1B
Matt Wieters C
Nelson Cruz DH
Steve Lombardozzi 2B
Ryan Flaherty 2B
Jonathan  Schoop 3B
Ubaldo Jimenez RHP

Brett Gardner LF
Derek Jeter SS
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Carlos Beltran RF
Brian McCann C
Alfonso Soriano DH
Brian Roberts 2B
Kelly Johnson 1B
Yangervis Solarte 3B
Hiroki Kuroda RHP

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