J.J. Hardy could join the Orioles on Thursday

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Rich Dubroff of CSNBaltimore.com has the update

J.J. Hardy could return to the Orioles on Thursday when they begin a series against the Yankees, manager Buck Showalter said.

Hardy, who has been on the disabled list with a strained left shoulder, is scheduled to play his third rehab game for Bowie on Wednesday night. He was 3-for-8 in the first two games.

Hardy was placed on the disabled list before Opening Day after suffering a strained left shoulder in one of the Orioles’ final Grapefruit League games. The hope was that he’d be ready for activation when first eligible — on April 11 — but a couple of minor setbacks prevented that from happening. Everth Cabrera has been serving as Baltimore’s primary shortstop. He entered play Wednesday with a brutal .213/.226/.238 batting line in 22 games.

Madison Bumgarner has been competing in rodeos under a fake name

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The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly and Zach Buchanan report that Diamondbacks starter Madison Bumgarner has been competing in rodeos under a fake name as recently as December. The fake name is Mason Saunders. Bumgarner explains that “Mason” is shortened from “Madison,” while “Saunders” is his wife’s maiden name.

Bumgarner — err, Saunders — and one of his rodeo partners, Jaxson Tucker, won $26,560 in a team-roping rodeo competition in December. The Rancho Rio Arena posted a picture of the pair on Facebook, highlighting that they roped four steers in 31.36 seconds.

As Baggarly and Buchanan point out, Bumgarner also pointed out in a rodeo competition last March, just a couple days before pitching in a Cactus League game versus the Athletics, back when he was still with the Giants.

Bumgarner suffered bruised ribs and a left shoulder AC sprain in 2017 when he got into a dirt bike accident. Given that, Bumgarner’s latest extracurricular activity does raise a concern for the Diamondbacks, who inked him to a five-year, $85 million contract two months ago. Baggarly and Buchanan asked Bumgarner about such a concern. Bumgarner referred them to the club’s managing partner Ken Kendrick. Kendrick directed them to GM Mike Hazen. Hazen declined speaking about “specific contract language.” For what it’s worth, Bumgarner says he primarily uses his right hand to rope.

The jig is up on Bumgarner’s hobby. He jokingly said to The Athletic’s pair, “I’m nervous about this interview right now.” He added, “I’m upset with both you two.”