BALTIMORE -- Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy was out of Sunday's starting lineup for the second consecutive game with back spasms, although he said he felt "100 percent better" and the move was more of a precaution by manager Buck Showalter.
"Could probably push the envelope if I wanted to, but I think we've got a chance to get him back 100 percent [on Monday]," Showalter said. "Don't want to take a chance."
Hardy was a late scratch after batting practice on Saturday and he met with Showalter on Sunday morning, telling the O's skipper he would be available in-game if needed in the team's series finale against the Rockies.
"I told them I can play," said Hardy, who took 20-25 swings Sunday with no issue, but still felt tightness moving around in the field. "I think [Showalter] wants to give me that other day to make sure. So, I'll be available on the bench."
Hardy, who has had back issues earlier in his career, had missed just one game this year prior to Saturday.
"[It's] really tough," Hardy said of sitting back-to-back games with Baltimore fighting for a playoff spot. "Coming into the season, I wanted to play 162 and I felt like the first day off, I probably could have played through whatever I was feeling, just kind of a scheduled day off. Yesterday would have been a little bit tougher considering I've had back spasms before, about five, six years ago.
"So I've learned with my body, knowing what it can do and what it can't do. And I don't want this to turn into something where I have to miss a week, two weeks. And that's kind of what happened in, I think '07."
Orioles option Stinson to Triple-A Norfolk
BALTIMORE -- The Orioles optioned right-hander Josh Stinson following Sunday's 7-2 series win against the Rockies and will likely add another position player in advance of Monday's series against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Stinson, who pitched a scoreless ninth on Sunday, was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk prior to Saturday's game to help boost an overworked bullpen. The right-hander did just that, recording four outs in Saturday's win, including a big strikeout of Troy Tulowitzki.
The 25-year-old Stinson, who will presumably be inserted back into Norfolk's rotation, has had three separate stints with the big league club this year. In five games, including one start, he has a 5.63 ERA over eight innings.
Hammel making strides in rehab from arm injury
BALTIMORE -- Orioles starter Jason Hammel (right forearm tightness) will throw off flat ground again on Monday and Wednesday with the hope being that he can progress to the mound on Friday.
"He told me, I think he was semi-kidding, he said, 'I could go for you Sunday,'" manager Buck Showalter said of Hammel, who has been on the disabled list since July 31. "I think that was when we thought we might have a problem with Frankie [Rodriguez]. I think he feels pretty good today."
Rodriguez, who exited Friday's game with a right groin strain, is available in the bullpen and told Showalter he could have pitched two innings Saturday if needed.
Things are obviously different with Hammel, who will need a couple rehab outings before he becomes an option for Baltimore. Hammel, whose DL stint is retroactive to July 29, is 7-8 with a 5.20 ERA in 21 starts.
• Maryland's head football coach Randy Edsall surprised his team by taking them to Sunday's Orioles game.
• Wilson Betemit continues to progress at Double-A Bowie, with special assistant Brady Anderson going over to watch three of his at-bats last night. Anderson told Showalter Betemit isn't quite ready yet, although the Orioles are hopeful he will be by the time his rehab ends on Aug. 25. The team could extend him to September if Betemit needs more time.
• Showalter said he hasn't yet compared notes with executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette regarding September callups, although the intent will be similar to last year in that Baltimore won't promote guys just to take a look at them. The Orioles are in the postseason race and will use roster expansion, which is exactly two weeks from Sunday, to add pieces they feel can help.
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.