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Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy out again Monday, but he hopes to play Tuesday

Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy missed his second straight start Monday because of a sprained left thumb that he originally injured while sliding into home plate Saturday afternoon.

Hardy said he woke up Monday morning and the thumb felt about the same as Sunday, so Orioles manager Buck Showalter kept him out of the starting lineup again.

“I think I’d be able [to play] in an emergency,” Hardy said. “I feel like I could alter the way I hold the bat and hit. I don’t know how well I would do it. I think fielding, opening and closing my glove, is a little tough. But, like I said, I think I could do that, too.”

Before Monday’s series opener against the New York Yankees at Camden Yards, Showalter said he considered using Hardy on Sunday as a defensive replacement if the Orioles took the lead, but they didn’t. He wouldn’t reveal whether he had the same plan for Monday’s game.

“I can’t tell you where we are with that now because I’m not going to broadcast it,” Showalter said. “But I’m hoping it’s short [time off]. Something like this, it’s day-to-day.”

Hardy injured the thumb in the second inning Saturday when his hand collided with the leg of St. Louis Cardinals catcher A.J. Pierzynski. An X-ray was negative, and no extra tests have been scheduled at this point, but that could happen if Hardy doesn’t improve.

“It’s frustrating. No matter what it is, if I’m not able to play, it’s frustrating,” said Hardy, who was hitting .283 with six homers and 40 RBIs in 108 games this year through Sunday. “I hope tomorrow I wake up and it feels fine and I am able to play.”

Ryan Flaherty started at shortstop Monday, his second straight start there and 11th this season. Hardy has not been on the disabled list this season, but he missed six games in April with lower back spasms and two more games later that month with a slight hamstring strain.

dan.connolly@baltsun.com

twitter.com/danconnollysun

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