Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy was a late scratch from yesterday's lineup because of back spasms and he's excluded from it today. However, his back is "100 percent better than yesterday," he told reporters, and he expects to start Monday night's series opener against the Rays at Camden Yards.
"I don't feel that spasm," he said. "Maybe a little bit of tightness, but not the spasm. I took some swings, 20-25 swings. Didn't feel it at all. Moved around outside and felt some tightness. Not spasms, but just a little bit. So, Buck (Showalter) is leaning towards giving me another day and make sure it's in the past and not have to deal with it.
"I don't feel it at all swinging today. Just kind of moving around a little bit, jogging. Stuff like that."
Hardy had missed only one game before yesterday.
"Really tough," he said. "Coming into the season, I wanted to play 162 and I felt like the first day off I probably could have played through whatever I was feeling. Just kind of a scheduled day off. Yesterday would have been a little bit tougher, considering I've had back spasms before, about five, six years ago. So, I've learned with my body, knowing what it can do and what it can't do. And I don't want this to turn into something where I have to miss a week, two weeks. And that's kind of what happened in, I think, '07."
Hardy is available to pinch-hit today.
"Yeah, I told them I can play," he said. "I think he wants to give me that other day to make sure. So I'll be available on the bench."