Hardy gets second straight breather to rest back

Hardy gets second straight breather to rest back

Hardy gets second straight breather to rest back

BALTIMORE -- Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy was out of Sunday's starting lineup for the second consecutive game with back spasms, although he said he felt "100 percent better" and the move was more of a precaution by manager Buck Showalter.

"Could probably push the envelope if I wanted to, but I think we've got a chance to get him back 100 percent [on Monday]," Showalter said. "Don't want to take a chance."

Hardy was a late scratch after batting practice on Saturday and he met with Showalter on Sunday morning, telling the O's skipper he would be available in-game if needed in the team's series finale against the Rockies.

"I told them I can play," said Hardy, who took 20-25 swings Sunday with no issue, but still felt tightness moving around in the field. "I think [Showalter] wants to give me that other day to make sure. So, I'll be available on the bench."

Hardy, who has had back issues earlier in his career, had missed just one game this year prior to Saturday.

"[It's] really tough," Hardy said of sitting back-to-back games with Baltimore fighting for a playoff spot. "Coming into the season, I wanted to play 162 and I felt like the first day off, I probably could have played through whatever I was feeling, just kind of a scheduled day off. Yesterday would have been a little bit tougher considering I've had back spasms before, about five, six years ago.

"So I've learned with my body, knowing what it can do and what it can't do. And I don't want this to turn into something where I have to miss a week, two weeks. And that's kind of what happened in, I think '07."

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.