4/8/2014 5:59 P.M. ET
Back improved, Hardy available for Orioles
By Brittany Ghiroli / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- J.J. Hardy, who has missed four of the past five games with nagging back spasms, was "a lot better" on Tuesday, according to Buck Showalter. The Orioles' manager said the shortstop would be available against the Yankees off the bench.
"He's much more available," Showalter said of Hardy. "I'm optimistic that he will be an option today. [We will] see how the rest of the day goes. But I would have said that [Monday]."
Gamesmanship aside, the Orioles are optimistic Hardy will avoid the disabled list and return to the starting lineup in the next day or two. Without Hardy and third baseman Manny Machado, who is recovering from left knee surgery in October, Showalter has employed an infield that includes Ryan Flaherty, Jonathan Schoop and Steve Lombardozzi, leaving no infielders on the bench and limiting his in-game moves. Hardy was not available for Baltimore during Monday's 4-2 loss to New York.
"[Hardy is] improved," Showalter said. "[He's] very close to being ready to start. Hopefully, he'll give us more options than we had yesterday. We'll see by game time. You can tell by his face [that he's feeling better], so that's good."
Orioles likely to add Weeks to the roster
NEW YORK -- Manager Buck Showalter said the Orioles will make a roster move in advance of Wednesday's series finale against the Yankees, and the Virginia Pilot reported that infielder Jemile Weeks has left the Triple-A Norfolk Tides, presumably to join the O's in New York.
Whose place on the active roster Weeks takes is still unclear, as shortstop J.J. Hardy -- who has missed four of the team's past five games with back spasms -- appears to be progressing well. Hardy said after Tuesday's game he hopes to start on Wednesday in the series finale vs. the Yankees.
"Not me, I don't think," Hardy said about his possible involvement in a transaction. "They haven't told me anything. I made big strides today. I had spasms in a big area that kind of moved to a small area, and that's normally what happened back in the day. I was really hoping for the [Sacroiliac] joint to release today. It didn't, but when it does, that's kind of the last step for me."
Showalter said Hardy was available on Tuesday, though the O's were fortunate he wasn't needed in a blowout 14-5 win over New York.
"It would have been tough," Hardy said. "I could have in an emergency situation. I would have been able to go out there, but it wouldn't have been easy."
Weeks, who was acquired from Oakland for Jim Johnson, gives the Orioles another option at second base, which has primarily been played by Steve Lombardozzi.
Gonzalez maintains ties to Adenhart
NEW YORK -- Miguel Gonzalez will start for the Orioles on Wednesday in the series finale against the Yankees. The date marks the five-year anniversary of friend and former teammate Nick Adenhart's passing.
Gonzalez and Adenhart played together in the Angels' Minor League system. After Adenhart was killed by a drunk driver, Gonzalez used his glove during his first career Major League start in 2012. He used to carry it with him until it got too worn out; he plans to get the glove framed.
Gonzalez has pitched well against the Orioles' divisional rivals, particularly at Yankee Stadium, though he gave up seven runs in four innings in his last outing there on Aug. 30, 2013. Gonzalez is 2-2 with a 4.25 ERA in five career starts in the Bronx. Overall, he is 2-2 with a 4.01 ERA in seven games against New York.
"I like pitching here. They have a lot of lefties," Gonzalez said on Tuesday. "And my [split-fingered fastball] works off of that. I think the confidence, also -- you have that confidence when you know you pitch well against a team you face a lot. That helps."
Gonzalez is coming off a disappointing 2014 debut in which he allowed seven earned runs over 3 1/3 innings amid freezing rain in Detroit. The key to making sure that doesn't happen again?
"Fastball command," he said. "I think that's more important right now, and the offspeed [pitches] will work with that, and I'll be fine."
• Left-hander Johan Santana came through Monday's two-inning simulated game with positive reports, as did Dylan Bundy, who threw a side session. Third baseman Manny Machado continues to progress, and Orioles manager Buck Showalter listed pool running among his activities.
• Backup catcher Steve Clevenger took balls at third base during pregame batting practice on Tuesday.
• Zach Britton's two scoreless innings in Monday's 4-2 loss to the Yankees extended his streak of shutdown frames to six this season.
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.