Hardy/Flaherty could rejoin Os this weekend

NEW YORK— Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy is making his third rehab start for Double-A Bowie on Wednesday night and manager Buck Showlater said it’s possible the shortstop joins the team in New York on Thursday.

Hardy has been rehabbing along with infielder Ryan Flaherty, who isn’t eligible to come off the disabled list until Friday. Still the pair could travel together and Hardy, who hadn’t played in five weeks, could be nearing his season debut.

“We’ll see how tonight goes. See how it feels,” Showalter said of Hardy, who has been sidelined with a left shoulder strain. “He’s sore in the right places. He’s not having any trouble in his shoulder, knock on wood. If he stayed down there two weeks on rehab, which you really can’t do, you’re going to have to make some adjustments in the big leagues offensively especially. It’s just a part of it.”

Hardy doesn’t have any more tests to pass and his arrival would likely mean the O’s would option infielder Rey Navarro back to Triple-A Norfolk.

“He’s passed everything physically,” Showalter said. “We’d lean on J.J. to a point. There are some things I wouldn’t ask him that he shouldn’t have to decide. It’s not fair to him. When you get to know a guy like we know J.J., he knows what’s needed and expected at this level so he’s very close. We’re just hoping we can get through tonight.”

How the Orioles will clear a roster spot for Flaherty is a lot less clear, as the O’s have a lot of guys out of options and there isn’t a lot of flexibility on the roster.  Showalter said going down a pitcher is an option, though it would be just a temporary one.

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