Showalter on Hardy, Cruz on latest honor (O’s lead 1-0)

BOSTON - Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy is flying to Baltimore around 8:40 p.m. tonight, and he has a 1 p.m. appointment Tuesday with team orthopedist Dr. Michael Jacobs.

Hardy is expected to undergo an MRI, and he also could receive another cortisone injection.

Manager Buck Showalter confirmed that Hardy will stay in Baltimore rather than fly back to Boston. Showalter is hopeful that Hardy will be in the lineup Friday against the Yankees.

“When I talked to Mike, he already had looked at the previous MRI and feels pretty confident about what we’re dealing with,” Showalter said. “Like I said before, if he had to play tonight, he could play. Just trying to get ahead of it.

“In early April he had a cortisone injection that obviously managed it real well up until this point, and this is is not the level of that one.”

cruz-pointing-up-gray-back-sidebar.jpgShowalter indicated that Ryan Flaherty, who’s committed errors in the ninth inning in back-to-back games, is likely to get most of the starts at shortstop in Hardy’s absence. Jonathan Schoop would be the second choice.

Alexi Casilla remains on the taxi squad in Sarasota and he’s a consideration, but there are no plans to bring him north.

“There are other options I’m comfortable with,” Showalter said. “We’ve got other people who can do it. I think Ryan’s our best option. He’s handled it well. I think because he’s played so well defensively for us the last couple years, when something doesn’t come out just like that...

“If you start comparing people to J.J., you’re going to have a lot of people finish second. But he had a couple big knocks for us yesterday and he’s played well in this park. I know he’s got a lot of family here.”

Showalter will announce his rotation for the Yankees series before Tuesday’s game. He’s going to need a sixth starter with Friday’s doubleheader.

The Orioles have gone 31-19 against the Red Sox since 2012 and 18-9 at Fenway Park since Sept. 20, 2011.

The Orioles used 23 players yesterday, the most since Sept. 14, 1960 in Detroit. The franchise record is 24 on Sept. 7, 1958 against the Red Sox.

Nelson Cruz has set new career highs with 39 home runs and 101 RBIs. His 39 homers are second-most in Orioles history for a player in his first season with the club. Frank Robinson hit 49 in 1966.

Cruz needs one more home run to become the sixth player to hit 40 in franchise history, joining Robinson, Chris Davis, Brady Anderson, Jim Gentile and Rafael Palmeiro.

Earlier today, Cruz was named the American League’s co-Player of the Week with Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera.

“It’s special,” he said. “You did something good along the way. They are good teams and we win as many games as we can. And we’re happy to have a good lead. That’s what you are looking for at the end of the season. The team needs to finish strong and hopefully we can clinch as soon as possible.

“To be able to win Player of the Week, I have to have guys on and to drive them in and get the hits to qualify to be Player of the Week. So, it means whenever my teammates were on in front, I was able to do something good.”

Cruz has become a much-needed presence in the lineup with Matt Wieters and Manny Machado out for the season and Hardy sidelined again.

“I put in a lot of work before every game and after games to stay healthy to stay in the game and play as many games as possible, and its really enjoyable to be able to contribute to most of the games,” he said.

Cruz will receive another watch after being named Player of the Week for the second time this season.

“I lost the other one,” he said. “I don’t know what I did with it. I’ve been looking everywhere for it.”

Cruz is back on a roll. He batted .407/.467/.963 with six extra-base hits, including four home runs, and 12 RBIs to share the award with Cabrera.

“I don’t feel like like I’m close like a week in May maybe, but no doubt I feel pretty comfortable at the plate,” he said.

“(The numbers) are special, but this is not the time to enjoy those numbers. We’ve still got 20-something games, twenty games to go. After it’s over you can enjoy it, but right now we just have to stay focused and win more games.”

Update: The Orioles took a 1-0 lead in the second inning on consecutive singles by Cruz, Chris Davis and Steve Pearce.

Pearce registered his 38th RBI of the season.

Miguel Gonzalez has thrown 38 pitches in two innings. He’s allowed three hits and walked a batter. But he’s holding a 1-0 lead.

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