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Matt Cain

The math behind hitting in baseball when the game's not on the line

The math behind hitting in baseball when the game's not on the line

Now 34 and preparing for his 13th year in major league baseball, Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy is perceived by some to be in a state of athletic decline.

The player who slugged 30 home runs as recently as 2011, for example, belted just eight last year, and injuries have forced him to miss about 30 percent of his team's games over the past two years.

But there are many ways to measure success in a sport as complex as baseball, and if a team of computer scientists at the Johns Hopkins University is to be believed, Oriole fans might have reason to feel hopeful about the two-time All-Star.

A study led by Anton Dahbura, a research scientist in the computer sciences...