The injury bug bit JJ Hardy again yesterday afternoon when he had to leave the game against the White Sox after fouling a ball off of his foot.
After getting x-rays and other tests performed on the foot, it was found that Hardy suffered a hairline fracture. He is headed to the disabled list and is expected to miss 6-8 weeks, according to MASN.
This injury is the latest among a slew of injuries suffered by the 33-year-old shortstop in the last three seasons. Hardy has dealt with injuries to his back, hamstring, shoulder, and calf dating back to 2014. His back was an issue in 2014, when he had a stint on the DL early on in the season and missed 21 games altogether. Last season Hardy missed 48 games, most of those coming in the first month of the season when he dealt with a shoulder injury. That injury lingered and Hardy’s back problem resurfaced throughout the entire season. He finished 2015 with the lowest bating average of his career – .219.
For the first time in three seasons, Hardy was entering 2016 in perfect shape. He looked to be as healthy as ever, and finished March with a .265 average with three home runs. So far this season Hardy homered twice, and had his best start to a season in recent history.
With Hardy heading to the disabled list, the hot start he had in April is seemingly wiped away. Missing 6-8 weeks is a pretty substantial amount of time, and Hardy will have to do his best to pick up where he left off when he returns. The good news is that it is still early in the season, so Hardy has plenty of time to get back on track upon his return.
Hardy being moved to the disabled list most likely means that Ryan Flaherty will return to the 25 man roster after being sent to Triple A last week. According to Roch Kubatko of MASN, Flaherty will be flying back to Baltimore tonight.
There are also rumors that the Orioles will be calling up Paul Janish once he returns from paternity leave. Janish is currently hitting .339 at Triple A Norfolk. If both Flaherty and Janish are called up, the Orioles would most likely send a pitcher with an option down to Triple A.
Also on the injury front, the Orioles received good news on closer Zach Britton. Britton had to leave the game against the White Sox on Saturday night when he rolled his ankle trying to make a play at first base. After undergoing x-rays and an MRI, the injury has been diagnosed as a sprain, and Britton has the chance to be ready to pitch at some point this week.
Hardy’s injury and the arrival of either Flaherty, Janish or both means a shakeup of the infield looms. Expect Manny Machado to move to shortstop in games that Flaherty plays, and for Janish to play mostly shortstop when he is in the lineup. The Orioles also have Pedro Alvarez on the bench, but should not be using his glove.
The Orioles had to shake up the infield last season when Hardy missed time. Luckily this year they have more depth.