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Givens honored to suit up for Team USA

Hardy takes cuts as he rehabs from lower back injury
Special to MLB.com

LAKELAND, Fla. -- In his final appearance with the Orioles before representing Team USA in the World Baseball Classic, right-hander Mychal Givens threw a scoreless sixth inning during a 7-2 victory over the Tigers on Monday, striking out J.D. Martinez and Alex Avila after Nicholas Castellanos' one-out double.

"With the good support with [pitching coach] Roger [McDowell] and [bullpen coach Alan] Mills and sitting down with them in mini camp, setting an actual plan before the offseason and ... what they wanted me to do, I went through it," Givens said of his work so far in 2017. "It felt good, and going out right now is just really good. I feel really prepared for the WBC."

LAKELAND, Fla. -- In his final appearance with the Orioles before representing Team USA in the World Baseball Classic, right-hander Mychal Givens threw a scoreless sixth inning during a 7-2 victory over the Tigers on Monday, striking out J.D. Martinez and Alex Avila after Nicholas Castellanos' one-out double.

"With the good support with [pitching coach] Roger [McDowell] and [bullpen coach Alan] Mills and sitting down with them in mini camp, setting an actual plan before the offseason and ... what they wanted me to do, I went through it," Givens said of his work so far in 2017. "It felt good, and going out right now is just really good. I feel really prepared for the WBC."

:: 2017 World Baseball Classic ::

Givens, who posted a 3.13 ERA over 74 2/3 innings in 66 relief appearances for the Orioles last season, expressed confidence in every aspect of the Baltimore roster this spring, including the positivity he has felt from manager Buck Showalter and executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette.

But his manager was more bittersweet in seeing another of his six Orioles in the Classic leave camp.

"It's a little tough, seeing those guys walk out the door and say goodbye," Showalter said. "That's not fun. The good part is I'm going to be looking forward to the hello part of it: 'Good to see you again.'"

Although Givens naturally did not like saying goodbye, either, his mission and expectations are clear and at the front of his mind.

"I'm still going to miss the guys, but at the same time, I'm going to work my butt off to try to bring back a gold medal," Givens said. "It's really important to me, because I feel like the army and all the ... veterans. They wore that [uniform], representing the USA, and then me putting on the uniform with that USA logo on the front has a lot of meaning to it."

Worth noting

While the Orioles watched Givens go, they also saw shortstop J.J. Hardy return to swinging Monday amid his rehabilitation of a sore lower back that has bothered him for more than a month.

"J.J., you just look in his face, he's feeling good," Showalter said. "I think he's not too far from getting back on the field with the drills and stuff -- hopefully sometime this week."

Hardy, 34, had a .269/.309/.407 slash in 115 starts for Baltimore in 2016, his sixth season as an Oriole.

Zak Kerr is a contributor to MLB.com.

Baltimore Orioles, Mychal Givens, J.J. Hardy