A little pregame Showalter

Manager Buck Showalter tackled a variety of topics earlier today while meeting with the media. Here's a sampling:

On J.J. Hardy:
"He's fine. I talked to him last because I know what he's going to tell us. I talked to Gary Allenson, and Bobby Dickerson has been with him for his whole rehab, and he's fine, he's ready to go. We didn't want him traveling on the day he's playing so he came in, I believe, last night or yesterday afternoon. I'm glad to get him back. It's been a while.

"He's been doing well down there. The very first play that was hit to him, Gary Allenson was telling me - we actually watch a lot of their games after hours - and we saw the play that he made up the middle. If there were any questions about his health, that would have (told us something). The good news is he's had some hard swings that would have showed up and didn't. Knowing how long this process has been, it's not like he just went to Norfolk and played three games. He went to Sarasota and did everything, did a lot of stuff there with Bobby and the rest of the people doing rehab. We feel confident as you can be that physically he's ready, and, baseball-wise. I called J.J. last because I knew what he was going to tell me. He would have said that he's ready to go Sunday."

On Alfredo Simon:
"I know Simon pitches tomorrow morning over in Bowie. I think Mark (Connor) and I are going to go over and watch. He would have been scheduled to pitch on the 16th, but he has to go to the Dominican Republic. He was supposed to pitch in Lehigh Valley, but the way I understand it, he'll be in the Dominican (handling) some form of legal issues. I'm sure you guys will be able to find out more from Andy (MacPhail). I didn't really go into detail with it being something else, but I don't really think he's going to be pitching in Triple-A after this outing tomorrow.

"He could be back on the 16th. I'm not going to put a lot of confidence in him being able to get right back out. It will be a moving target as far as when he pitches again, but I think you'll definitely see him pitch again. I shouldn't say that. That's just the way I would feel. Someone else may feel differently, whether it be the 17th or 18th. We'll see what the Dominican authorities allow."

On Josh Rupe:
"Obviously, we had options to do it. Obviously, we've known Josh for a while. He's made three major league clubs three years in a row out of spring training. He showed us in the spring, he showed us in his last outing in Kansas City. He lives in Virginia Beach, which is real close to Norfolk, and I'm hoping that he clears. For his sake, if he gets claimed, I'll feel good for him there, too.

"We just needed to get to 12 pitchers with J.J. coming back and we felt like, basically, of all the options available for us right now, that was a better fit. And we feel like if we had to make moves, if we use up the bullpen, then we have avenues to go, one of which will be him if he clears.

"One of the reasons why we had to do it before 2 o'clock today, if he gets through Thursday, he can be back pitching Friday in Norfolk. I think they are still at home."

On Luke Scott:
"I don't think his status or the way that we were going to use him has really changed from yesterday. The (MRI) was for his peace of mind and making sure we were verifying what we felt like we already had. But like we've done this season already, we've spelled him here and there and we've picked out spots. We will continue to do that and play off what he's telling us, which he's done."

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