Veteran Baltimore Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy will miss at least a month with a fractured right wrist.
It has hardly been easy sledding this year for the Orioles on the injury-related front. As they try and right the ship after an ugly month of May that dropped them out of a playoff spot, the O’s will be without the services of All-Star shortstop J.J. Hardy for four to six weeks as he recovers from a fractured wrist.
Hardy left the Orioles game on Sunday afternoon after being hit by a pitch. Postgame x-rays were not promising, and Hardy underwent a CT scan on Monday afternoon which confirmed a non-displaced fracture in his right wrist. This is now the second year in a row Hardy will miss extended time after breaking a bone in a freak manner.
In the final guaranteed year of his contract with the Orioles, Hardy needed to reach 600 plate appearances to trigger an option for the 2018 season. He was batting .211/.248/.308 at the time of the injury. Hardy had an OPS+ of 49 and a wRC+ of 43, which made him one of the worst full-time hitters in the league. His defense had also been uncharacteristically shaky.
There is already rampant speculation that Gold Glove third baseman Manny Machado will slide over to shortstop as he did last year when Hardy was on the disabled list. Manager Buck Showalter shut that talk down for now, but how long he can stick with Ruben Tejada as his starting shortstop remains to be seen.
The Orioles could consider making a trade for a better offensive player to play shortstop while Hardy recovers, but that could complicate things when he returns to action. Showalter has stood by Hardy through his offensive struggles this year. Expect Machado to see some action at shortstop with the Orioles calling up either Paul Janish or Johnny Giavotella from Triple-A Norfolk.