Pregame notes on Hardy, Chavez, Simon and more (with quotes)

SARASOTA, Fla. - Orioles manager Buck Showalter told reporters this morning that shortstop J.J. Hardy will return to the lineup on Saturday against the Nationals in Sarasota.

Hardy is taking batting practice despite receiving treatment for a sore right arm.

“He wants to play, but I’m going to give him one more day.” Showalter said. “Just want to get it resolved. It’s taking just a tad longer than usual. Usually it’s resolved by now. It’s nothing he couldn’t play with. There are a lot of guys who aren’t playing today that would play during the regular season. We have that luxury now and I’m going to take it. But he’s going to play tomorrow.

“He had it last spring. It’s something he has every spring. It’s almost gone and I just want to take an extra day. I think he’s going to be fine. We’re very optimistic about it. It’s getting a little better every day.

“He kind of game me that J.J. look because he wanted to play today, but I’ll give him one more day to be on the safe side. If we were going on the road tomorrow I probably would have played him today.”

Also, outfielder Endy Chavez has been held out of the lineup again today because of a sore groin. Chavez tweaked it after laying down a bunt in Wednesday’s game against the Blue Jays.

Alfredo Simon (groin) was supposed to throw a bullpen session today, but he opted out of it to give his injury another day or two to heal.

Outfielder Jai Miller isn’t on the field today because of a sore knee.

Specifically, Showalter said it’s kneecap irritation.

“Just want him to stay off it for a couple days,” Showalter said. “He said he’s had it before, but it’s kind of gotten to the point where he needed to get it calmed down.”

Showalter isn’t certain when left-hander Dontrelle Willis will pitch in his first game for the Orioles. It’s still under discussion.

“I think I’ll know something after the game today,” Showalter said.

According to Showalter, Tsuyoshi Wada will pitch again on Tuesday and go four or five innings. The club hasn’t determined whether he’ll pitch in another minor league game or against the Twins at Ed Smith Stadium.

The Orioles still view Chris Tillman as a starter for now. He’s still in camp because he remains a candidate for the rotation.

Jason Berken’s fastball was 92-94 mph during yesterday’s Triple-A game at Twin Lakes Park.

“He came in today with a great look,” Showalter said. “I can tell you how frustrated he’s been with everything. I told him, ‘Your wife must have been happy to see the real Jason show up last night,’ and he said, ‘Yeah.’ A little more bounce in his step. Looks like we’re in the process of getting him back completely.”

Nick Markakis is in right field today and he wants to be the designated hitter on Saturday.

Showalter said Markakis won’t need to play all nine innings in right before he’s deemed ready for the season.

“Believe me, playing seven down here sometimes in a day game is like playing 10 or 11 during the season,” he said.

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