President of Baseball Operations Andy MacPhail didn't want to characterize J.J. Hardy's MRI results, which revealed a left oblique strain, as good news because the Orioles will now be without their starting shortstop for between two to three weeks and it could be even longer. However, he admitted that there was some concern before the results that Hardy could be out even longer.
"With the nature of this injury, nobody knows for certain what the duration is going to be, but certainly the news could have been worse," MacPhail said.
The immediate result is that Cesar Izturis and Robert Andino will both get time as the starting shortstop. It also means that the Orioles will likely go with 13 pitchers for a little while until the rotation gets a little more healthy and starts getting deeper in games.
Team officials are saying that they haven't officially decided on Wednesday's starter, but Brad Bergesen is in line for the start. Bergesen was just demoted to Triple-A Norfolk on Saturday. However, he wouldn't have to spend the normally required 10 days in the minors because he's replacing a player headed to the disabled list. The Orioles will put Hardy on the disabled list either Tuesday or Wednesday, leading to Bergesen's arrival.
With Bergesen back in the rotation and Chris Jakubauskas remaining in a relief role, the Orioles would have an eight-man bullpen of Kevin Gregg, Koji Uehara, Jim Johnson, Michael Gonzalez, Jason Berken, Jeremy Accardo, Josh Rupe and Jakubauskas.
They would certainly like to bring back Craig Tatum to serve as a more natural back-up catcher and allow Jake Fox to occupy more of a utility role. However, they apparently feel that having an extra bullpen arm on the roster is a little more important right now.
If some of the starters prove they are healthy and start getting deep in games, I don't think it would be too long for them to return to a more traditional seven-man bullpen and 12-man pitching staff.