Hardy close to returning to game action

Wieters, Flaherty also take positive steps

Hardy close to returning to game action

BALTIMORE -- While most of the pregame news on Wednesday centered around the Orioles-White Sox game having no fans permitted, there were some positive notes on the O's injury front.

Shortstop J.J. Hardy planned to test his left shoulder, and he will go with the team to St. Petersburg to continue his rehab. If he feels OK, he could play in games after that.

"Definitely [feeling a lot better]," said Hardy, who had an injection in the area on Saturday and was shut down the past few days. "Think the cortisone has worked."

Catcher Matt Wieters (Tommy John surgery) will play in an extended spring game on Thursday, and Ryan Flaherty (groin strain) -- who is still with the team -- took 75 swings on Wednesday and should be ready to come off the disabled list when eligible.

Manager Buck Showalter also said Jonathan Schoop had fluid drained from his right knee to help get the last bit of swelling out, and Wesley Wright (trapezius strain) will be able to resume throwing early next week in Sarasota, Fla.

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.