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Hardy tests ailing oblique with swings

MLB.com @Britt_Ghiroli

HOUSTON -- J.J. Hardy tested his left oblique prior with some dry swings and 30 swings off a tee prior to the Orioles' game against the Astros.

"It feels so much better than it did two days ago," Hardy said. "There's still some discomfort, but not nearly what it was two days ago."

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HOUSTON -- J.J. Hardy tested his left oblique prior with some dry swings and 30 swings off a tee prior to the Orioles' game against the Astros.

"It feels so much better than it did two days ago," Hardy said. "There's still some discomfort, but not nearly what it was two days ago."

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Hardy -- whose MRI on Tuesday came back normal -- hopes to be playing at some point this weekend and is aiming to take batting practice on Thursday.

"I'm hoping tomorrow [he plays], but it's probably not realistic," manager Buck Showalter said. "I just want him to be able to play without any mental restrictions or physical restrictions."

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli.

Baltimore Orioles, J.J. Hardy