BAL@ARI: Hardy hammers a solo homer to deep left

BALTIMORE -- Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy was a late scratch from Saturday's starting lineup with back spasms before the team's pregame batting practice.

"I feel like I probably could have played tonight," said Hardy, who had the same issue on Friday but was able to get enough treatment to loosen up the area. "I don't think we wanted to risk anything to make it get worse. I think it definitely got better with the treatment today. We'll see tomorrow. I think it'll be pretty good."

Ryan Flaherty, who was originally listed as the designated hitter, took over at shortstop, with Steve Pearce filling in at DH against Rockies righty Chad Bettis in the Orioles' 8-4 win. Flaherty went 2-for-4 and Pearce walked and scored a run.

Hardy, who had missed only one of the team's first 121 games (and that was a scheduled day off), is hitting .254 with 22 homers and 66 RBIs this season and the Gold Glove winner has anchored the team's defense with only nine errors. He has had back issues previously, but not for a while, and Hardy said he's on a pretty good program now to help prevent the old injury from creeping back up.

"It would have been '07, '08," Hardy said of his prior back injury. "I haven't had anything in probably five, six years. Back then when it would spasm, it would lock up pretty good and I'd be out for a week or so. That's something we didn't want to deal with. I played it a little safe today and just took care of it."

With the Orioles' move to option designated hitter Henry Urrutia prior to the game, in favor of pitcher Josh Stinson, the bench on Saturday was just backup catcher Taylor Teagarden and infielder Alexi Casilla. Asked if the team needed to make a roster move to add another position player for Sunday, manager Buck Showalter said not necessarily.

"I want to talk to J.J. a little bit and see how it managed during the game," Showalter said. "I think he was in pretty good shape there. And I think with Stinson throwing less than 20 pitches, he might be available for us again tomorrow, but that could change with what J.J. tells me."

Stinson recalled, fills spot left by Urrutia

BAL@KC: Urrutia picks up his first career triple

BALTIMORE -- Needing to aid an overworked bullpen, the Orioles recalled right-hander Josh Stinson from Triple-A Norfolk prior to Saturday's game against the Rockies.

Stinson pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings of relief in Saturday's 8-4 win over the Rockies, striking out one.

The 25-year-old Stinson -- who joined the Major League club for the third time this season -- took the roster spot of designated hitter Henry Urrutia, who was optioned to Norfolk following Friday's game.

"One, we need an arm," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of the move. "Stinson has had three days off. And as some people astutely noticed, he didn't have a work day [on Friday], so we brought him up. He can give you some length.

"Henry needs some at-bats, it's one of the problems with Interleague Play. I think Henry needs to go back and get where he was. And he will. He's going to be a good hitter. This is going to be good for both parties."

Urrutia had 52 at-bats in 21 games, batting .269 with a triple and two RBIs, and the Cuban outfielder platooned in the DH spot, a role that saw limited action given the team's recently completed three-city West Coast trip against all National League opponents.

"The at-bats have been tough [to find]," Showalter said of Urrutia, who is in his first professional season after signing with the Orioles this spring. "Up here, it's not the instructional league. You are up here trying to win. I think the thing that's impressed me is he's very engaged in the game, he's a fan of the game, he watched the game. He gets the competition. You don't ever have to search for him in a pinch-hitting spot, he very quickly figured out how it works. He's ready. That impressed me."

Although Urrutia had just one extra-base hit, Showalter said he believes the 26-year-old will hit for power in the Major Leagues once he gets some consistent playing time and further acclimated to a new league and country.

"You watch BP, sometimes what will happen at some point, and he's already done it in the Minor Leagues with a little leaky slider, he's going to hit a ball that will make you say, 'Wow,'" Showalter said. "He's got that type of [power]. When you are dealing with that length of arms and that length bat -- same reason why he's got great range with the bat -- he's going to be able to handle the ball in as we go forward. He's 26, but I throw that out. He's almost like a 22-year-old in the Major Leagues, in American professional baseball."

Worth noting

• Casey Cares kid Ian S., 10, threw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to Saturday's game. Ian is suffering with a life threatening illness, and throwing out the first pitch and tickets to the game are part of the Family Festivities program, one of six programs of the Casey Cares Foundation. Casey Cares provides uplifting programs with a special touch for critically ill children and their families.

• Showalter planned on staying away from using Francisco Rodriguez on Saturday with the reliever, who left Friday night's game with a right groin strain, still hoping to avoid the disabled list.

• Wilson Betemit's rehab schedule is mapped out through Aug. 25, and Showalter said it's hard to handicap whether he'll be ready to rejoin the big league club after that or not. Betemit has not played yet this season.

• Kevin Gausman, who had his start for Triple-A Norfolk pushed back due to some minor soreness, will start on Monday.

Nick Markakis was out early on Saturday working with special instructor Terry Crowley and hitting coach Jim Presley as he tries to get out of his recent slump. Markakis hit fifth again, with Chris Davis third, and Showalter said it's a way to take some of the pressure off Markakis.

Entering Saturday, Markakis was hitting .218 in August with no extra-base hits. He had an RBI single and walked in the 8-4 win over the Rockies.

• The listed starters for the next four days are: Scott Feldman, Chris Tillman, Miguel Gonzalez and Wei-Yin Chen.