Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy revealed Thursday that he has been playing the entire season with a torn labrum in his left, non-throwing shoulder.
Hardy said he does not plan to have surgery in the offseason. Instead, he plans to rest the shoulder initially, then strengthen it in the offseason in preparation for next year. In 2004 as a minor leaguer, Hardy had major surgery on the same shoulder that included repairing his labrum and said he does not want to go through that procedure again.
"I'm just going to get it stronger,'' Hardy said. "That's the plan. Just get it stronger."
Hardy missed the first 25 games of the season with what the Orioles called a left shoulder strain that occurred during spring training, but Hardy said the injury was a torn labrum all along.
The 33-year-old Hardy has dealt with a variety of other injuries this season, including lower back spasms, a sore oblique and a right groin strain.
Hardy, who won the AL Gold Glove at shortstop the past three years, had another stellar year defensively, committing three errors in 112 games and posting a .993 fielding percentage. That includes just one error over his first 81 games since returning from the shoulder injury.
But Hardy said the shoulder injury has hindered him offensively all season long, which might explain why he's having one of the worst seasons of his 11-year career at the plate. With four games remaining in the regular season, Hardy is hitting just .213/.246/.306 -- all of those numbers career lows -- with eight homers and 36 RBIs.
Hardy said he's restricted his swing all season, overcompensating with his top hand because of concern of re-aggravating the shoulder on his backswing. He took several measures to overcome the injury, tinkering with his swing and his stance and reducing his swings in batting practice throughout the season, but admits it has led to some bad habits at the plate.
"It's swinging a bat in the game," Hardy said. "Doing a controlled swing is different than 100 percent in a game."
Hardy -- who signed a three-year, $40 million extension last October, is signed through the 2017 season with a $14 million vesting option for 2018 based on plate appearances.
Hardy said that if the shoulder ailments persisted next year, it could impact how long he plans to continue playing.