BOSTON — Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy acknowledged Thursday that he's in the middle of one of his most difficult periods of baseball that he can recall.
"I'll tell you, the last probably couple of weeks has probably been one of the toughest stretches, defensively, offensively, for me in probably my whole career," Hardy said. "I've got no excuse for it. I'm doing the same stuff I've done the last 12 years — preparing, working hard—and it's just one of those stretches. I'm going to continue preparing, continue working hard and, eventually, you've got to get out of this."
At the plate, Hardy hopes Wednesday's two-hit night will be the driving force behind that resurgence. It raised his batting average to .205 and helped pull him out of a stretch that saw him collect four hits in his previous 37 at-bats over 10 games.
But even that effort was tenuous — one ball was hit well, and he's at the point where he expects them to find gloves.
"It's crazy when you hit a ball like that, and it's still almost an out," Hardy said. "You feel like there's 20 defenders out there."
On the defensive side, it has been a tough series at Fenway Park. Hardy started an improbable triple play Tuesday after he couldn't make a play on a shallow fly ball to left field, and was charged with his third error of the season when he had a ground ball go through his legs Wednesday. He could've had another on a fielder's choice when he went home to try to prevent a run and overthrew catcher Caleb Joseph. An error was not assessed.
Hardy, 34, is still a leader in the infield and is seen as a stabilizing force between young stars Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop at third base and second base. It's still early, but defensive metrics, which typically think Hardy is a strong shortstop, haven't been as favorable.
But he knows the only way to reverse what he feels is an all-around funk is to just work out of it.
"Like I said, just going to keep grinding, keep working hard and going to get out of it," Hardy said.