2:08pm: CSN Mid-Atlantic’s Rich Dubroff (Twitter link) and Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun each have a slightly more optimistic take on Hardy’s timeline, as both cite sources in reportingt hat Hardy will miss four to six weeks, as opposed to six to eight weeks. Connolly tweets that he’s been told both four to six weeks and six to eight weeks.
1:32pm: Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy has suffered a small fracture in his foot and is heading to the disabled list, Dan Connolly of BaltimoreBaseball.com first reported (Twitter link). MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko adds more context, calling the injury a hairline fracture and reporting that Hardy is expected to miss six to eight weeks of action. Hardy suffered the injury in yesterday’s game after he fouled a ball off of his left foot.
Per Kubatko, the Orioles are expected to recall Ryan Flaherty from Triple-A Norfolk to take Hardy’s spot on the roster, and veteran infielder Paul Janish could also be an option once he returns from paternity leave (he’ll leave the Triple-A club Wednesday for the birth of his child). Janish isn’t currently on the 40-man roster and would thus require an additional 40-man move to be made. It’s also worth noting that Manny Machado could slide over to shortstop in Hardy’s absence, as he did for a bit in 2015 when he played seven games. Machado was originally drafted as a shortstop but moved over to third base due to Hardy’s presence when he was initially promoted to the Major Leagues.
Losing Hardy for up to two months is a notable blow to the Orioles, as the 33-year-old’s bat had bounced back somewhat early in the season, resulting in a .244/.291/.410 (90 wRC+) batting line in 86 plate appearances. While that production isn’t up to par for a league-average hitter, it’s a notable step up from the .246/.306/.372 (83 wRC+) batting line of the average big league shortstop and is more than serviceable when considering Hardy’s elite defensive contributions. While the Orioles should be able to maintain a quality infield defense with some combination of Machado, Flaherty and Janish comprising the left side of the infield, it’s likely that the net outcome of that trio — both on offense and defense — will fall shy of the would-be combination of Machado and Hardy on an everyday basis.