Orioles' Hardy to begin rehab stint with Triple-A Norfolk Friday

Shortstop hopes to return for next week's home series vs. Mariners

May 04, 2011|By Jeff Zrebiec, The Baltimore Sun

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — J.J. Hardy reported to the Orioles' minor league spring training complex in Sarasota, Fla., Wednesday for what he hopes will be the last time.

The shortstop, who hasn't played since April 9 because of a strained left oblique, took batting practice on the field for the first time and got through his workout feeling good. Hardy will fly to Norfolk, Va., on Thursday and begin a rehab stint with the Triple-A Tides on Friday.

"It took a little bit longer than I thought, but I feel good," said Hardy, who went on the disabled list after feeling a stabbing pain in his side while taking a swing in Game 2 of the April 9 doubleheader against the Texas Rangers. "I feel confident that it's all healed up. I took two weeks of really doing nothing except ice and treatment. Once I started doing baseball stuff and exercises, I never really felt that pain again. It was tight, it was sore, but that's really the last pain that I felt."

Hardy treated Wednesday like a normal pre-game workout. He took ground balls, ran the bases, got some throws in and took batting practice at Twin Lakes Park.

"The first day I swung, which was just dry swings, they were 50-60 percent, pretty hesitant," Hardy said. "The next day, probably the same thing. But I kind of gradually built it up to the last three days, I've been swinging as hard as I can and I didn't feel anything at all. I don't think there's any reason to be hesitant. I feel I'm healthy enough to be good to go."

The Orioles, who have been going primarily with Robert Andino at shortstop, haven't decided how long Hardy's rehabilitation stint will last, but if Hardy has no setbacks, it's expected that he'll be available during next week's home series against the Seattle Mariners, which runs from Tuesday to next Thursday.

"It's all going to be a feel thing," Hardy said. "I know the first game, I'm guessing that I'll probably play six innings, get three or four ABs, and then I'd like to start playing a full game over the next two games. If I feel like I made the adjustments I need to make, that could be enough. But it's up to them."

More rehab news

The Orioles officially announced that right-hander Alfredo Simon, who is on the restricted list while a suspect in a fatal shooting Jan. 1 in the Dominican Republic, will pitch his first affiliated game of 2011 for Double-A Bowie at 11:05 a.m. Thursday at Prince George's Stadium. It is against the Harrisburg Senators.

"Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association have reached an agreement to allow Alfredo Simon to go on a rehab assignment beginning with tomorrow's game in Bowie," Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail said.

Once he builds himself up, the Orioles will have to take him off the restricted list and put him on the 25-man roster. Simon is scheduled to throw four or five innings Thursday and pitch again for the Baysox on Wednesday.

Left-hander Brian Matusz (strained left intercostal muscle) got through a bullpen and live batting practice session with no problems. He'll throw two or three innings in an extended spring game Saturday and likely join a higher affiliate to continue his rehab.

Ailing Scott in, Guerrero out

Luke Scott made his first start of the season Wednesday at designated hitter despite a sore right shoulder that he acknowledged has become a concern. Scott has been dealing with several nagging injuries, but he says it's the shoulder that is giving him the most trouble. He said he might get it looked at when the team returns to Baltimore, depending on how it feels over the next couple of days.

"My shoulder is the only thing that really concerns me," said Scott, who entered Wednesday's game hitting .344 with four homers and nine RBIs in his past eight games. "I've been in a lot of prayer over that. I don't know exactly what it's from. There are just some sore spots. I may get it checked out. I'll have more information when I go home. I'm not different than anybody else. We all have nagging injuries that we play through."

Felix Pie started in left field, and Vladimir Guerrero got his first day off. Orioles manager Buck Showalter is considering starting Pie in Thursday's series finale here as well. Second baseman Brian Roberts returned to the lineup after missing Tuesday's game following a root canal.

Paying homage

Jeremy Guthrie, Matt Wieters, Clay Rapada, Cesar Izturis, Jake Fox, Koji Uehara, Pie and Guerrero toured the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum this morning. The trip was organized by director of public relations Monica Barlow, and a camera crew from Mid-Atlantic Sports Network accompanied the group.

Minor league notes

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