Orioles manager Buck Showalter was alerted to shortstop J.J. Hardy's back spasms during batting practice this afternoon and made the decision to remove him from the lineup.
Hardy said he could have played, but he was reduced to spectator in the Orioles' 8-4 win over the Rockies at Camden Yards.
"He felt it a little bit yesterday, but they did some treatment and everything and it loosened up and was no problem for the most part," Showalter said. "He wanted to play today. He wanted to go. But talking to him about some of the history with it, there's no similarities to what he had when he had an issue with it for 10 or 11 days in 2011 or something, but after listening and talking, I didn't want anything to flare up long term, so we'll see what tomorrow brings. But I thought he and the trainers managed it pretty well. I appreciate him being honest. He wanted to play. He thought he could play with it."
Josh Stinson, recalled today from Triple-A Norfolk, worked 1 1/3 innings and threw 19 pitches. Showalter doesn't think it will be necessary to option Stinson and bring up a hitter.
"I want to talk to J.J. a little bit and see how it managed during the game," Showalter said. "I think he was in pretty good shape there. And I think with Stinson throwing less than 20 pitches, he might be available for us again tomorrow, but that could change with what J.J. tells me."
Stinson allowed one hit and struck out a batter in his scoreless outing.
"Josh ain't scared," Showalter said. "He comes in and he lets it rip. Ronny (Johnson) gave some real good reports on him and his makeup and his stuff. He's pitching real well down there right now and you can see it. He came right after them. We needed that after we kind of messed around with the hitter before him."
In one of the key moments of the game, Stinson struck out Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki to end the sixth and strand two runners.
"He went after him and that's kind of his M.O.," Showalter said "That's one thing you like about him. He's got a little wiggle room there, obviously, but there's a lot of good hitters there. I think some guys reach a point where, I'm not going back to the hotel or apartment or whatever and say, 'Geez, I wish I had been a little bit more aggressive or trusted my stuff or went after a guy instead of fiddling around.' He came in and just said, 'Here it is. Let's see how it works out.' And that's what guys have to do to have everybody get that confidence in them."
Showalter said he didn't want to use three relievers tonight, including Francisco Rodriguez, who strained his right groin last night. However, Rodriguez wanted to pitch and should be available on Sunday.
"He could have pitched tonight," Showalter said. "He said he had two innings in him. He was dead serious. He's a tough hombre. You don't do the things he's done over his career and not... I will trust him on the fact that he said he's had stuff like this before and it wasn't something that lingered. He had it wrapped, so it's that time of year and he's a warrior. I'd be surprised if it's an issue for him. But it is something I'll keep an eye on."
Bud Norris allowed four runs and nine hits in 5 2/3 innings after taking the loss in Arizona on Wednesday in his second career relief appearance.
"I thought his stuff, I thought he was getting a little spent there," Showalter said. "The thing with his lower back here was starting to kind of creep up on him. I doubt that he would admit that, but I could see the breaking ball had a little less finish than it had.
"He gave us what he could. I think pitching in Arizona, you'd have to ask him. On paper, it shouldn't have affected him at all, but you never know. That's a different type of intensity there.
"We had Miguel (Gonzalez) down in the bullpen today. But he took his work day afterward, a light one. I thought Bud pitched well in the situation he was in with the lead."