The early prognosis on Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy’s right wrist injury suffered in Sunday’s 8-5 win over the St. Louis Cardinals was not promising, according to manager Buck Showalter.
Hardy left the game before the top of the sixth inning with what the team described as a right wrist contusion after being hit by a pitch in the fourth inning. After the game, Showalter said that X-rays performed after Hardy was removed weren’t encouraging.
“Not good, not good,” Showalter said. “We took an X-ray here, saw something that concerned us. I know he’s got a scan in the morning and we’ll have a little more definitive idea there.”
Given the results of Sunday’s early tests, the Orioles are prepared to learn that Hardy suffered a fractured bone in his wrist, which would force Hardy — the leader of the team’s infield on defense — to be sidelined for a significant amount of time.
Showalter said Hardy was hit on the bottom side of his wrist as he attempted to bail on a 93-mph fastball from Lance Lynn. Three Orioles were hit by pitches in Saturday’s 15-7 win over St. Louis without incident or injury.
“What did we have, four hit by pitches in the series? And none of them intentional,” Showalter said. “But it doesn’t make you any happier.”
Hardy initially remained in the game. He played defense in the top of the fifth inning, but was removed from the game before the top of the sixth, replaced by Rubén Tejada.
Hardy has played in 64 of the Orioles’ 68 games this season, and though he has struggled offensively, hitting .211/.248/.308 entering Sunday’s game, he was 7-for-24 over his past seven games.
Hardy, 34, has a deep injury history but over recent years he has learned to play through back and shoulder injuries. It is the freak injuries that have cost him the most time, like last season when he fouled a ball off his left foot and missed nearly seven week with a fractured bone in the foot.
This year is a critical one for Hardy as the team decides whether to exercise his $14 million option for 2018 that is part of the three-year, $40 million extension he signed during the 2014 postseason.
Tejada was acquired from the New York Yankees in a trade June 6 and has served as the utility infielder since. With utility man Ryan Flaherty on the disabled list with a right shoulder strain, Tejada is the Orioles’ only other shortstop option, barring shifting Manny Machado from third base.
The Orioles do have other utility options in the minors and could add infielders Paul Janish or Luis Sardiñas, but either player would also have to be added to the team’s 40-man organizational roster as well. Veteran infielder Robert Andino would have been another option, but he is serving a 50-game suspension for a failed drug test.