Hardy scratched from Orioles lineup (updated)

Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy has been scratched from tonight’s lineup. No reason was given, so stay tuned for updates.

Ryan Flaherty will start at shortstop and Steve Pearce will serve as the designated hitter.

I’ll post the new lineup once it becomes available.

The Orioles already had a short bench tonight. Now it’s really short, with Alexi Casilla and Taylor Teagarden perhaps the only players available.

Hardy has played in 120 of 121 games this season.

Hardy seemed fine earlier today, joking with reporters in the hallway outside the clubhouse before batting practice.

Update: Hardy was scratched from the lineup because of back spasms. The Orioles list him as, yes, day-to-day.

The Orioles had two reasons for optioning outfielder Henry Urrutia to Triple-A Norfolk last night and recalling pitcher Josh Stinson this afternoon. They needed an extra bullpen arm and Urrutia needed the at-bats.

“Stinson has had three days off and he didn’t have a work day yesterday, so we brought him up,” said manager Buck Showalter. “He can give us some length tonight. We’re a little cramped down there in the ‘pen. I don’t know if there’s a better word. Maybe ‘stretched.’ ”

Urrutia spent most of his time on the bench while the Orioles played eight games without a designated hitter on their West Coast trip. He batted .269/.269/.308 with one triple and no walks in 21 games and 52 at-bats after having his contract purchased from Norfolk.

“Henry needs some at-bats,” Showalter said. “I tell you, that’s one of the problems with interleague play. But I think Henry needs to go back and get where he was, and he will. He’s going to be a good hitter. I’m glad. This is going to be good for both parties.

“The at-bats have been tough. Up here, it’s not the instructional league. But the thing that’s impressed me is he’s very engaged in the game, he’s a fan of the game. He watches the game. He gets the competition. You don’t ever have to search for him in a pinch-hitting spot. He very quickly figured out how it works. He’s ready. That impressed me.

“Very quickly, he became - I wouldn’t say a favorite - but a guy in the clubhouse that players communicated with well. All that part of it, I feel good about. I think he’s going to be able to handle all the other stuff. And he really, really wants it.”

Urrutia didn’t pull the ball as much as advertised, often slapping the ball to left field.

“A lot of guys that hit a lot of balls the other way, I think people make a mistake... I’d rather have a guy doing that then being in and out of the zone quickly and hooking them over in our dugout,” Showalter said. “That swing is tough to do something with. But I think when he gets consistent bats and gets his feet on the ground, he’s got a chance to be a good hitter. I think he’s going to have some power, too.

“You watch in BP sometimes. What will happen at some point, and he’s already done it in the minor leagues, somebody will leave a little leaky slider and he’s going to catch the bat to it and he’s going to hit a ball that’s going to make you go, ‘Wow.’ He’s got that type of power.

“When you are dealing with that length of arms and that length bat he uses... It’s the same reason why he’s got great range with the bat. He’s going to be able to handle the ball in as we go forward. He’s 26, but I throw that out. He’s almost like a 22-year-old in the major leagues and in American professional baseball.”

Chris Davis and Adam Jones are on pace to become the first pair of Orioles with 100 RBIs in the same season since Aubrey Huff (108) and Melvin Mora (104) in 2008. It would be the 10th time in club history the Orioles had two or more players drive in 100-plus runs in the same season (also 1966, 1969, 1980, 1983, 1985, 1996, 1999, 2004 and 2008).

Jim Johnson has allowed a run in each of his last four appearances, setting a career high. Johnson has had three streaks of three games allowing a run to score over 344 career appearances.

Manny Machado (42 doubles, 11 homers) is the third Oriole to have 40 or more doubles and 10 or more homers through Aug. 16, joining Brian Roberts (45 doubles, 10 homers in 2009) and Miguel Tejada (40 doubles, 22 homers in 2005).

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