Orioles: No Surprise – J.J. Hardy Reveals Year-Long Injury


Jul 1, 2015; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy (2) dives for a ball during the game against the Texas Rangers at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The Orioles won 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

It has come out today in an Eddie Encina article in the Baltimore Sun that Baltimore Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy has been playing all season with a heretofore unstated injury — a torn labrum in his left shoulder.

All of those who are surprised by this, stand up. Note for the official record that few are standing.

The injury has not affected his defense, a skill that cannot be criticized legitimately now or ever. He is among the very best.

But he confesses very openly that it has affected his swing and ability to contribute offensively.

I don’t want to be that guy who says “I told you so,” but I told you so, especially in an article published in mid-August. Here are some quotes from it …

To me (and to many other O’s fans I’ve read on comment boards), it pretty much always looks like J.J. Hardy is hurting. We know he has a bad back that has afflicted him at times. And frequently when running out a ground ball, he decelerates beyond the bag in a way that looks like he is attempting to alleviate pangs of pain shooting through his spinal column. He is also frequently seen stretching and twisting — sorta checking out that muscle he just tweaked a moment ago.

But, maybe this is just normal for Hardy. Maybe on his best day he simply has a running style and physical presence that gives a false appearance that not everything is well inside his age 33 body.

There just is the concern that Hardy is playing through injuries to the extent that it is affecting him terribly. Buck always talks about how everyone is playing with some sort of nagging issue.

Concluding with saying …

I’m just an old dude with a bad knee, but the eyes are still good … and they tell me now that not all is well physically with the O’s shortstop and that the numbers are reflecting this.

Bad numbers?  The numbers of an ailing player? You bet. Coming into this season with a career batting average of .261 with 167 home runs, he is hitting .213 with eight homers. Over the past 30 games, Hardy’s average is .144.

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But here is the big question: Is this commendable that he has played through this injury, apparently with the Orioles knowing about it?

I understand that he has the big contract for three years and wants to live up to it. I understand that his defense is going to be better than anyone else who could be put out there. But gosh, a .213 average is not helping the team. Even Ryan Flaherty can do that, and with greater power numbers. Machado could have played short with someone else at third base.

So what does the future hold? Hardy says there won’t be any surgeries. He is going to rest it for a time and then work to strengthen it for next year. And if the problem persists, it may affect his remaining years of baseball.

Ugh! This story matches the mood from the weather outside that has the Orioles in a rain delay and facing an uncertain weekend with the Yankees. Grim!

Next: Chris Tillman still lacks a put-away pitch