ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. — Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy hasn't played second base since he was 11 years old, but the three-time Gold Glove winner would be manager Buck Showalter's first choice to shift over to second if starter Jonathan Schoop couldn't play.
The team's surprise move to option utility man Ryan Flaherty on Monday to make roster space for Kevin Gausman left the Orioles without a backup second baseman behind Schoop. Showalter said Hardy would likely fill in there, with third baseman Manny Machado moving to shortstop and possibly Chris Davis or Pedro Alvarez going to third.
Hardy positions himself on the right side of second base when the Orioles play a shift on left-handed hitters, so he's been aligned there before, but playing the position would offer different nuances.
"It would definitely be different. Obviously it's a shorter throw to first base, turning double plays is a totally different side of the bag," said Hardy, who has played shortstop since being drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in 2001. "But I've turned a few when we are in the shift. Let's just hope, keep our fingers crossed, there's no emergency."
Regardless, that's a situation the Orioles wouldn't want to be in for an extended time because it takes several players out of their best defensive position.
Jones in lineup: Orioles center fielder Adam Jones was in the starting lineup for Tuesday's game against the Tampa Bay Rays one day after he appeared to be in discomfort after a swing in his final at-bat.
Jones went 1-for-4 in the Orioles' 3-1 loss to the Rays on Tuesday night. Jones was also robbed of a hit by Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier in his first at-bat.
In the ninth inning of the Orioles' 2-0 loss Monday, Jones swung through a 1-0 pitch and appeared to be in pain, walking around the batter's box slowly before getting back in the box. Two pitches later, he grounded out.
Jones was out of the starting lineup for five games this month with a rib cage strain caused by swinging.
Showalter said he checked with Jones, who told him that he was fine to play Tuesday.
"He actually said his shoulder hurt a little bit more than that," Showalter said. "I've said since the day spring training started, everybody's got a little something if you wanted to critique them from head to toe. The schedule leaves no time for recovery anymore."
Showalter said executive vice president Dan Duquette called head athletic trainer Richie Bancells to check on Jones.
"He either heard or saw it," Showalter said. "I see the same thing y'all do, and I know Richie's going to check with him. Adam has some type of expression after every swing, but I saw the same thing you did."
Jones hit in the second spot in the batting order for the third time this season Tuesday, while Machado moved into the third spot for the third time.
"A little different thing," Showalter said. "Nothing real deep other than kind of looking at the matchups and some things they should and shouldn't be able to do out of their bullpen. It gives us a better chance if we can stay close."
Both Jones (8-for-20 entering Tuesday) and Machado (7-for-19, two homers) had seen success against Rays starter Jake Odorizzi.
Around the horn
Jimmy Paredes was 0-for-3 with a walk, a strikeout and a run scores in his first rehab game at Double-A Bowie on Tuesday. He also made an error at third base that led to unearned run. … RF Mark Trumbo's one-out, second-inning single Tuesday extended his hitting streak to 11 games. ... Showalter said Hardy has been trying to throw a knuckleball in recent days and joked he's surpassed Davis as the team's position-player pitching option.