Hardy returns after week off to rest ailing back

Hardy returns after week off to rest ailing back

BALTIMORE -- J.J. Hardy was back in the Orioles' starting lineup Friday for the first game of their doubleheader against the Yankees after a weeklong absence to deal with back spasms.

Hardy was at shortstop and batted sixth. He took some early work before the first game and was not expected to play in the nightcap.

Hardy has dealt with spasms throughout the season. In April, he missed six games (and five in a row) due to the injury. In August, he missed another game before the spasms flared up again at the start of September. Utility infielder Ryan Flaherty has filled in at shortstop during Hardy's absences this season.

Hardy is batting .281 this season with nine home runs -- his fewest since 2010, when he was with the Twins.

David Wilson is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.