4/5/2014 8:00 P.M. ET
Showalter gives struggling Flaherty a rest
By Brittany Ghiroli / MLB.com
DETROIT -- With Tigers right-hander Rick Porcello on the mound, Orioles manager Buck Showalter sat struggling Ryan Flaherty in favor of rookie Jonathan Schoop at third base on Saturday.
"Not a break necessarily [for Flaherty]," Showalter said. "Just trying to get Jonathan out there with this string of right-handers [pitching]. I don't want him to be sitting around too long -- and it might be good for Ryan, too. Ryan has played well for us defensively, and he'll get it going offensively."
Flaherty is 0-for-15 with seven strikeouts this season, and Saturday was the first game he did not start.
"I think he's just pressing, that's all it is," hitting coach Jim Presley said of Flaherty. "He's wanting to get a base hit every at bat, instead of hitting the ball hard. And that's what I told him [on Friday]. When you start thinking about base hits, you kind of get yourself in trouble. If you go up there and just try to barrel up every at-bat and every swing that you take, it puts you in a better frame of mind and puts you in an offensive frame of mind."
Flaherty started last year in similar fashion, going 0-for-17 with nine strikeouts, and can't pinpoint why he's such a slow starter.
"Obviously, no one wants to start the season 0-for, you want to help the team", Flaherty said. "When you are not helping the team, it's no fun.
"Obviously, [when] you get that first one out of the way, it makes everything a lot easier. But I don't think you can try for it too hard, which can be the case a lot of the time. And it has a negative effect. But you get that first one and then you can get things going."
Added Showalter: "Jimmy is one of the best [hitting coaches] in the game and Ryan's work habits are good, so those things will find a way to work themselves out. Sometimes you want something too much, and I think Ryan -- I think all of our guys -- are all trying to do their part to hold the fort until Manny [Machado] gets back.
Hardy returns to Orioles' lineup
DETROIT -- Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy returned to the starting lineup on Saturday after dealing with lower back spasms and taking Friday off.
"I think it was a smart move, considering the conditions and everything yesterday and what I was feeling the days before," said Hardy, who played through the spasms on Wednesday and Thursday.
Hardy missed two games last year with the issue and said it was much worse the other times he's had spasms than the most recent flare-up.
"Before that, it [hasn't been since] 2009 in Milwaukee that I had them," Hardy said. "It's been a while, so I feel like I've done a pretty good job of doing my low-back exercises. It could have turned into a two-week thing and so it probably was the smart thing to do, take yesterday off."
Hardy went 2-for-3 with a walk in Saturday's 7-6 loss to the Tigers and made a run-saving play in the third.
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.