6/21/2014 12:13 A.M. ET
Showalter sticks with Pearce, who stays hot
By Brittany Ghiroli / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- Steve Pearce was back in the Orioles' starting lineup on Friday, with manager Buck Showalter riding the red-hot designated hitter as long as he can.
Pearce -- who was coming off a Rays series in which he hit .500 with three doubles, a homer and three RBIs -- had a pair of run-scoring hits in the Orioles' 5-3 loss to the Yankees. He has attributed his recent success to a change in stance, something he tinkered with while on the bench.
"When you're a spot starter, you have to find some way to stay sharp," said Pearce, who has never played in more than 61 Major League games in one season. "And finding ways where if you feel the pitcher is too close, you have to find ways to start seeing the ball longer. That's part of the game. You fiddle with things. Sometimes you find something that works and sometimes you [can't], but thankfully it's gone to something that I liked and I feel comfortable with."
Pearce, who re-signed with the Orioles on April 29 after he was designated for assignment and granted free agency, has worked with hitting coach Jim Presley on closing off his stance, which he thinks allows him to let the ball travel a little further upon release.
"I feel like I have more pop," said Pearce, who hit his career-high fifth homer on Tuesday and is 6-for-12 over his past three games. "I'm seeing the ball longer and it feels comfortable."
Pearce has played in 36 games for the Orioles this season and is batting .327. He has also recently taken up the No. 2 spot in the order, which shifts third baseman Manny Machado down to seventh.
"He's done a good job for us, especially in that two-hole," Showalter said. "Trying to ride that a little bit. He's been solid."
Hardy trying to regain his power stroke
NEW YORK -- Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy entered Friday's game batting .289, which is good news. The bad news? Hardy, who has hit 22 or more home runs in each of the past three seasons, has yet to go deep in 2014.
"It's different than anything I've ever done," Hardy said of describing his offensive season thus far. "The first month, my back injury and kind of grinding through it, and then I just kind of found a base hit swing. And gradually my body's gotten better and I still have that swing instead of the power, so obviously I'd like to drive the ball more and be more productive. Right now, I'm just trying to do everything I can offensively."
Is there a certain adjustment that can be made to get to that power swing?
"I wish I knew the answer. I'd start driving the ball more if I knew the answer," said Hardy, who was a Silver Slugger Award winner in 2013. "I'm just trying to get hits, and hopefully the homers and everything come."
The two-time Gold Glove Award winner is also hopeful his defense will revert back to his old ways, as Hardy had eight errors on the season entering Friday. He had 12 total all of last season.
"I've made a few errors -- throwing, fielding. I've been working on that, too," Hardy said. "My body feels fine. It hasn't been coming together."
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.