In Aberdeen, Jonathan Schoop provides an update on his back injury

ABERDEEN, Md. - Orioles infield prospect Jonathan Schoop will play tonight at Ripken Stadium for short-season Single-A Aberdeen and then play again tomorrow with the IronBirds. After that, he expects to rejoin the Triple-A Norfolk Tides.

Schoop is coming back from a stress fracture in his lower back. He got hurt in a game on May 12 with Triple-A Norfolk.

"I don't know exactly how I hurt it, but it was early in that game," Schoop said today. "My second AB, I got a hit and then went from first to third. When I got to third, I could feel it.

"Late in that game, it just got worse. I couldn't move good. I finished the game and then the next day, I woke up and it was bad. Had to go to the doctor."

He saw the Orioles' doctors and then got a second opinion from a doctor in Los Angeles. Several weeks of rest and rehab later, Schoop has reached the point where he will soon be back in the Triple-A lineup.

"I'm happy to be back playing the game I love to play," he said.

He said his back feels great now and he is not limited, but he may add a few extra pregame stretches to his routine the rest of this season.

"The doctor told me to make sure I stretch every day and do core exercise two to three times a week. If your core is strong, you take a lot of pressure off your back," he said.

Schoop was batting .348 with an OPS of .862 in 11 May games with Norfolk at the time of his injury. He might have been pushing for time in Baltimore or might even have been with the O's by this point if not for the injury.

He still has designs on making it to Baltimore before this year is out.

"I have confidence in myself," he said. "I'm not going to put pressure on myself to get to Baltimore. I just want to play baseball, play hard and let them decide. I feel like I'm doing my part.

"Right now my goal is to pick up where I left off. Play hard, give me team a chance to win and then we'll see what happens."

Check back on the blog later tonight for updates on this game as Aberdeen hosts Vermont. Steve Johnson is pitching with Aberdeen tonight on a minor league rehab assignment and is expected to pitch the first three innings.


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