8/10/2013 4:47 P.M. ET
Hardy joins rare company with 20th homer
By Brittany Ghiroli / MLB.com
SAN FRANCISCO -- With his second-inning blast in Friday's win, J.J. Hardy became the third shortstop in Orioles history to record three consecutive seasons with 20 or more homers, joining Miguel Tejada and Cal Ripken Jr.
"He's just a consistent human being, period," manager Buck Showalter said of Hardy's steadiness at the plate and on the field. "I feel confident knowing what you are going to get out of him. Always approachable. I think what people miss sometimes because he doesn't wear it on his sleeve is the competitive fire he has. He enjoys the competition. He likes when things are done right. He'll be the first guy when we're out of position with a relay or something could have been done a little better. He's like having a coach on the field. He gets it."
Hardy, who started the All-Star Game for the first time in his career this year, entered Saturday batting .252 with 63 RBIs and -- after struggling last season in the No. 2 spot -- has primarily hit seventh, which has helped him improve on a disappointing 2012.
"It has [helped]," Hardy said. "Just with RBI chances, and you know what else has helped? Adam Jones, [Nick] Markakis, [Chris] Davis, [Manny] Machado. All those guys are getting on base, so it seems like every at-bat, I've got somebody on base. It's a pretty solid lineup."
Cautious Hammel hopes to return down stretch
SAN FRANCISCO -- Starter Jason Hammel, who had a cortisone injection Friday, remains optimistic he will pitch for the Orioles again this season, and the plan is for him to rest for a few days and try to play catch at some point next week.
Hammel, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list with tightness in his right flexor mass, said Saturday he won't push things given the nature of the injury, and he hopes to nip the issue in the bud and be a factor for the Orioles down the stretch.
"After speaking with the doctors and everything, not necessarily the writing is on the wall but it's right there, the forearm can be a precursor to ligament damage [in the elbow] and things like that," said Hammel, whose MRI showed no structural damage in the area. "It's not worth the risk, especially if it's something we can look at and handle now. Obviously I don't want to miss time, but it's better than missing a year [for Tommy John surgery]."
Hammel has been traveling with the team and he was still dealing with some discomfort when trying to throw earlier in the week, prompting another examination and the decision to try to calm down the area with the injection. The right-hander has been dealing with the injury since Spring Training and it primarily affected his slider.
"It's obviously disappointing but there are plenty of other options here right now that are throwing just as well, if not better, than I was," said Hammel, who is 7-8 with a 5.20 ERA in 21 starts. "So it was a tough decision, but it was the right one."
• Markakis hit fifth Saturday, a move providing the best protection for a lineup without catcher Matt Wieters, who got the day off. It marked the first time this season Markakis had hit fifth.
• Miguel Gonzalez will start Tuesday's game, following Scott Feldman in Arizona.
• Hardy had an RBI and a hit removed from July 27's game, with Major League Baseball issuing a scoring change from the eighth inning that charged Boston's Stephen Drew with an error instead.
• The game time for the Orioles' Sept. 14 game in Toronto has been changed to 4:07 p.m. ET and will now be broadcast on MASN2.
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.