4/9/2014 11:22 P.M. ET
Hardy encouraged by improvement in back
By Brittany Ghiroli / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- Shortstop J.J. Hardy was as encouraged on Wednesday as he has been and said that he will test his lower back during the team's off-day on Thursday, with the goal of starting on Friday.
"Pretty excited about it," Hardy said of how the spasms in his lower back have progressed. "I feel like tomorrow I'll be able to go to the field, run around, do some stuff and really test it out and hopefully be ready to go [on Friday]."
Hardy has missed five of the past six games, playing on Saturday in Detroit only to leave on Sunday during batting practice after his back locked up in a different spot while taking ground balls.
"I don't want it to spasm up again and make me miss more time," he said. "I'm hoping when I get back from this, I'll be able to play the rest of the games from here on out. I definitely don't want to have a setback with this."
Hardy was available off the bench on Wednesday. Ryan Flaherty started at shortstop in his place, with Jonathan Schoop at third base.
Lough undergoes, passes tests in Baltimore
NEW YORK -- Outfielder David Lough left the team on Tuesday to see two doctors in Baltimore on Wednesday morning, returning in time for the team's game against the Yankees -- a 5-4 win -- after passing some concussion tests.
"It's been a lingering thing, just kind of playing through it, but they could tell I wasn't right out there," said Lough, who dealt with concussion-like symptoms during Spring Training. "I didn't feel right, so I spoke up and said something. And they said I needed to go run some tests, and everything is fine now."
Lough missed a week of camp in what was first called stiffness in his neck, and he was put through a battery of tests before he was cleared to return to the field. He said following Wednesday's win, a game in which he entered as a defensive replacement in the ninth, that he was feeling better and was told by the doctors this is something that would clear up on its own.
"It's better now," he said. "I think we all got it all taken care of, squared away. Back to normal."
Lough was a possibility for the disabled list on Tuesday, which is why the Orioles had Jemile Weeks come up from Triple-A Norfolk in the event they had an extra roster spot. Weeks was sent out before Wednesday's game started.
"We thought because he had similar symptoms that it might be something, because we had the same tests done in Sarasota, [Fla.]," said manager Buck Showalter prior to Wednesday's game. "We wanted to let our guy see it and have him weigh in on it, and he concurred with what was in Sarasota."
Showalter isn't aware of any specific trigger this time and isn't confident that things are completely resolved as far as Lough's symptoms go.
"We're not sure about that, but we're sure a concussion's not causing it," he said. "A concussion has not caused it."
Jones stands behind comments about fans
NEW YORK -- Center fielder Adam Jones made national news for his comments on Tuesday regarding the pair of fans who ran onto the field at Yankee Stadium, claiming that he should be able to kick them with his metal spikes on and wishing physical injury on them several times.
With Wednesday's news that Major League Baseball is looking into what he said, Jones was unapologetic, saying that his opinion is shared by other players.
"Not sorry," Jones said. "I'm not going to say it if I don't mean it. Obviously, I don't want to inflict any pain on people, but if you put us in harm's way, [I've] got to protect myself.
"That's all it's about. Players don't pay to come watch the fans, fans pay to come watch the players. Cuss us out, badger us, but don't put our lives, our safety in jeopardy."
Jones received a lot of positive reinforcement for saying what he says others have wanted to and that his phone was "blowing up" in the aftermath of Tuesday's tirade.
"It's been awesome, with everyone, friends around the league, [saying], like, 'Dude, that's awesome," he said.
Since players aren't allowed to accost fans who run on the field, what are Jones' thoughts on punishment?
"You can't stop [it] from happening, because you would have to put up barriers, and that would obstruct the fans. The only thing you can do is make examples of them," he said. "Give them real jail time. Fine the [heck] out of them. Twenty grand. Nobody wants to be fined 20 grand. I don't care who you are. The world's richest man. So you are going to have to do something.
"Obviously, the safety of players is important to me. ... You are not going to let someone come on the field and damage your investment. Just looking at it from a business model. So it is what it is."
Manager Buck Showalter has no issue with Jones' comments, although he doesn't condone physical violence wished on others.
"Adam's entitled to his opinion, and one a lot of people might agree with, but I think you've got to take it for what it's worth," Showalter said. "It just kind of hit me, sitting on the top step, listening to people cheering as they ran onto the field. What does that really say? I'm sitting there on the top step, thinking, 'Why are they cheering?' What would happen if everybody booed them? … That's what hit me. They're all cheering. And nobody sees it anymore. They don't put it on TV, right?"
Showalter also made light of the fans being tackled in the infield when they were finally captured.
"They didn't exactly sugarcoat it out there," he said. "I know Derek [Jeter] and Brian [Roberts] and our guys love the infield here, but I wonder how those two guys felt the infield was. They thought it was properly soft?"
• Dylan Bundy threw 35 fastballs on Wednesday in Sarasota, Fla., with fellow rehabbing pitcher Johan Santana slated to throw batting practice on Saturday.
• The Orioles have signed left-hander Anthony Vasquez, who will report to Double-A Bowie after some time in extended spring. Vasquez last pitched in the Majors in 2011, appearing in seven games for the Mariners.
• Bud Norris was in the bullpen on Wednesday, with the rotation for Toronto undecided. If Norris isn't used, he will pitch against the Blue Jays. Chris Tillman and Ubaldo Jimenez are also slated to pitch, but the O's are not sure of the days.
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.