J.J. Hardy

Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy. (Kim Klement / USA Today Sports / June 17, 2014)

NEW YORK -- Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy, who hit 25 home runs last year, doesn’t have any this year and his 15 RBIs are well off pace from his 76 in 2013.

Hardy’s .289 batting average is above his career mark of .256 entering this year, but his 69 hits have been exclusively doubles or singles through his first 239 at-bats. He said initially his power stroke might have been diminished while he worked through back spasms early this season, but that doesn’t explain why he had one RBI in June heading into Friday night’s game.

“It’s different than anything I’ve ever done. I don’t know,” Hardy said. “The first month, [I had] my back injury and kind of [was] grinding through it, and then just kind of found a base hit swing. And, gradually, my body’s gotten better, and I still have that swing instead of the power. So, obviously, I’d like to drive the ball more and be more productive. Right now, I’m just trying to do everything I can offensively.”

Hardy has also uncharacteristically struggled defensively. He has eight errors so far this season, compared to 12 in 2013 and six in 2012 — both years he won the American League Gold Glove.

Again, Hardy said he doesn’t believe it is a health issue. He’s just not been as automatic as he has been in the past.

“I’ve made a few errors, throwing, fielding. I’ve been working on that, too,” Hardy said. “My body feels fine. [My game] hasn’t been coming together.”

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