Here’s another tale of toughness from inside the Orioles' clubhouse.
Manager Buck Showalter said he had two different lineup cards filled out just more than 30 minutes before the first pitch of the Orioles’ 12-2 win over the Blue Jays on Wednesday – one with shortstop J.J. Hardy in it and another without.
For the past two days, Hardy has been dealing with a painful hangnail on his right middle finger, and on Wednesday Hardy said it became so difficult to throw that he was gripping the ball with just three fingers.
"J.J.'s battling through a lot of things right now that most people would be sitting on the bench with,” Showalter said. "Last thing he told me is, 'If you think I'm coming out with a bad finger...'"
Not in the middle of a playoff race.
Hardy played, and went 2-for-3 with two runs, while making several key defensive plays (6 assists and 3 putouts). After the game, Hardy said it was “one of the most painful games I’ve ever played through” because the nail kept cutting into the right side of his finger every time he touched the ball.
After the game, he had the finger numbed and the hangnail was cut straight off. He hoped that Thursday’s day off would provide some much-needed rest.
Hardy, the cornerstone of the Orioles' infield, has also played through a sore shoulder all season long. He had a cortisone injection in spring training and before the All-Star break.
Hardy entered Wednesday’s game leading all AL shortstops in games (151), fielding percentage (.992), assists (510), defensive wins above replacement (2.6) and range factor per game (4.91).