J.J. Hardy headed to Baltimore for examination regarding lingering back injury

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J.J. Hardy is out of the Orioles’ starting lineup for the third straight game due to a lingering back injury and Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com reports that he’s scheduled to head back to Baltimore for an appointment with team orthopedist Dr. Michael Jacobs tomorrow morning.

The expectation is that Hardy will undergo an MRI and possibly receive another cortisone injection. Orioles manager Buck Showalter isn’t overly concerned about the situation and even hopes to have his shortstop back as soon as this Friday for a doubleheader against the Yankees, but they can afford to play things safe with such a big lead in the American League East.

“When I talked to Mike, he already had looked at the previous MRI and feels pretty confident about what we’re dealing with,” Showalter said. “Like I said before, if he had to play tonight, he could play. Just trying to get ahead of it.

“In early April he had a cortisone injection that obviously managed it real well up until this point, and this is is not the level of that one.”

Hardy, 32, is batting .281/.320/.392 with nine home runs and 52 RBI over 128 games this season. While he had a strange early-season power outage, he has posted pretty typical numbers since his first home run on June 21.