Ryan Flaherty, who was originally listed as the designated hitter, took over at shortstop, with Steve Pearce filling in at DH against Rockies righty Chad Bettis in the Orioles' 8-4 win. Flaherty went 2-for-4 and Pearce walked and scored a run.
Hardy, who had missed only one of the team's first 121 games (and that was a scheduled day off), is hitting .254 with 22 homers and 66 RBIs this season and the Gold Glove winner has anchored the team's defense with only nine errors. He has had back issues previously, but not for a while, and Hardy said he's on a pretty good program now to help prevent the old injury from creeping back up.
"It would have been '07, '08," Hardy said of his prior back injury. "I haven't had anything in probably five, six years. Back then when it would spasm, it would lock up pretty good and I'd be out for a week or so. That's something we didn't want to deal with. I played it a little safe today and just took care of it."
With the Orioles' move to option designated hitter Henry Urrutia prior to the game, in favor of pitcher Josh Stinson, the bench on Saturday was just backup catcher Taylor Teagarden and infielder Alexi Casilla. Asked if the team needed to make a roster move to add another position player for Sunday, manager Buck Showalter said not necessarily.
"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."
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.