SEATTLE — Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy's recovery from a broken bone in his right wrist has taken longer than anticipated, and he's eyeing a September return from the disabled list as he resumes baseball activities and regains strength.
Hardy, who has been on the DL since June 19, hit soft toss Monday — about 30 to 40 swings — and is set to move on to hitting in the indoor cages Tuesday. Hardy said he hopes to take on-field batting practice when the Orioles return from the West Coast this weekend and could then begin a minor league rehabilitation assignment.
Hardy indicated that playing defense at the major league level might be the most difficult challenge. He still has to build strength in his right arm after not having thrown since June 18, when he was struck by a pitch from the St. Louis Cardinals' Lance Lynn, but said he's pain-free.
"Still just kind of building arm strength and getting back into throwing," he said. "The wrist feels pretty good. Just kind of [the] arm [that] feels weak. I would have a hard time throwing myself out if I hit myself a grounder.
"I am pretty fast," Hardy added, joking. "That's what I'm saying."
Hardy is hesitant to put a timetable on his return. Initially, the Orioles hoped he would be able to begin a rehab assignment when the team returns home this weekend. But asked whether the start of a rehab assignment is about a week away, Hardy said: "I don't even want to say that."
"It could be sooner than that or it might be later," Hardy added. "I really don't know. … So to put a timetable on it is tough. I'm trying to go out there as soon as I can so I can play as many games as I feel like I need to and get back in time for September, but you can't rush it too much. Trying as best I can. I'm working hard to get back out there, but it's just taking some time.
"There hasn't been a setback. We're still going forward. There hasn't been a setback. It's just hard to say when exactly I'll be ready to play."
Flaherty and Santander continue rehab
Utility man Ryan Flaherty (shoulder) and outfielder Anthony Santander (forearm) continued their rehab assignments Monday at High-A Frederick.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter has said that he hoped to have Flaherty activated for this week's series in Seattle, but that's unlikely now. Both players' rehab-assignment windows expire Tuesday, so the team has until Thursday to activate them.