Hardy's MRI comes back normal

Hardy's MRI comes back normal

HOUSTON -- An MRI performed on J.J. Hardy on Tuesday night in Houston came back normal as the Orioles try to get out in front of his injured left oblique.

"There's not the stuff you normally see there with an oblique, but there's still something," manager Buck Showalter said following the team's 6-4 loss. "He feels a lot better today. So we will see what tomorrow brings. Got to be careful with it. But that was as good of news you could hear on that."

Hardy was a little improved on Tuesday, though he acknowledged it's tough to really know, since he hasn't swung a bat and was out of the lineup for a second straight game. He may take some swings on Wednesday.

"We'll see how I feel, but I'd like to," Hardy said. "I think that was the plan even yesterday -- take a day from doing anything and let it recover and see what it feels like. So I think tomorrow we'll see how it feels and we'll go from there."

Hardy missed five weeks in 2011 with an oblique injury and feels as though he tried to test it too soon, which set him back. This time around he's hopeful he can avoid the disabled list.

"I think that's what we were thinking even yesterday, that we caught this before it got bad, and this MRI just kind of proves that," he said.

Still, Hardy missing any time is the latest blow to an Orioles team that saw a recent (though minor) injury to Adam Jones and is still without catcher Matt Wieters, second baseman Jonathan Schoop and starter Bud Norris.

If Hardy doesn't need to go on the DL, his presence on the bench could put the roster in a compromising position, particularly with Wednesday's scheduled hearing for lefty Brian Matusz's eight-game suspension.

"I've got to the point now where I say, 'Listen, there are so many variables that can really cloud your thinking. Let's stay focused on today.'" Showalter said. "A lot of times, they work themselves out. If you think, 'This could be a problem, that could be a problem,' it will drive you crazy. I am looking forward to things settling down. And maybe it's one of those years where the roster never settles down. It really never did last year."

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.