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O's Hardy due back soon; Alvarez could follow

Shortstop expected to return from lengthy DL stint this weekend
MLB.com

BALTIMORE -- After being on the disabled list since June 19, J.J. Hardy is expected to rejoin the Orioles between Friday and Monday.

The Orioles will be opening a minicamp in Sarasota, Fla., on Sept. 8 for potential September callups to have a place to play after the Minor League seasons end, but manager Buck Showalter said Hardy is far enough along in his rehab assignment to avoid going to the camp.

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BALTIMORE -- After being on the disabled list since June 19, J.J. Hardy is expected to rejoin the Orioles between Friday and Monday.

The Orioles will be opening a minicamp in Sarasota, Fla., on Sept. 8 for potential September callups to have a place to play after the Minor League seasons end, but manager Buck Showalter said Hardy is far enough along in his rehab assignment to avoid going to the camp.

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"[When he will come up will] be a conversation we'll have with him after [Thursday]. You know, and just see what he thinks," Showalter said. "I think the longest obviously that he could stay there is [Monday]. He's not going to be a guy that's going to Sarasota."

Hardy has hit .263 with one home run and three RBIs in his seven games at Triple-A Norfolk. The Orioles' veteran shortstop is using his time on his rehab assignment to continue to build up strength in his throwing arm and shoulder.

Video: BAL@CWS: Hardy grabs liner, tosses to first for DP

"It's something we go through every spring, and we don't talk about it every day like we do now. He just is going through that Spring Training shoulder period," Showalter said. "You know, something crops up [with any player in Spring Training], and it's normal and that's the great thing about having continuity with the staff. [Trainer] Richie [Bancells] says, 'Yeah, this comes up every spring, and it'll be X number of days and he'll work through it.'"

Hardy will not be the only familiar face rejoining the Orioles in September. Showalter said the O's will be calling up outfielder Joey Rickard and potentially Pedro Alvarez, who played 109 games with Baltimore in 2016.

Video: BAL@BOS: Alvarez homers to right-center in the 2nd

Last season, Alvarez hit .249 with 22 home runs and 49 RBIs, and he has hit .241 with 26 homers and 89 RBIs for Triple-A Norfolk this year.

"[Alvarez is] somebody we're considering adding, as [well as] about eight to 10 others down there," Showalter said. "So you could ask that same question about a bunch of other guys. Obviously because of our history with Pedro and knowing what he's capable of, it's a little more relevant."

Showalter has also addressed the need for a third catcher and more pitchers to bulk up the current six-man bullpen. But who the team will call up still remains a puzzle for the O's coaching staff, as they have yet to finalize their 40-man roster.

"You know, we're obviously going to have to take a third catcher who is going to require a roster spot. [Hardy] is going to require a roster spot. We're at 39 now," Showalter said. "You've got a couple other guys that you're thinking about that are non-roster. You're also going to get Rickard back. So we just got to get through today and tomorrow with a six-man bullpen."

Mandy Bell is a reporter for MLB.com based in Baltimore.

Baltimore Orioles, J.J. Hardy