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May 4, 2011

Hardy says he's ready to go; some minor league news

J.J. Hardy reported to the Orioles' minor league spring training complex in Sarasota, Fla., this afternoon for what he hopes will be the last time.

The shortstop, who hasn’t played since April 9 because of a strained left oblique, took batting practice on the field for the first time today and got through his workout feeling good. Hardy will fly to Baltimore tomorrow, pick up his equipment at Camden Yards and join either Single-A Frederick or Triple-A Norfolk for the start of a rehab stint Friday.

“It took a little bit longer than I thought, but I feel good,” said Hardy, who went on the disabled list after feeling a stabbing pain in his side while taking a swing in Game 2 of the April 9 doubleheader against the Texas Rangers. “I feel confident that it’s all healed up. I took two weeks of really doing nothing except ice and treatment. Once I started doing baseball stuff and exercises, I never really felt that pain again. It was tight, it was sore, but that’s really the last pain that I felt.”

Hardy treated today like a normal pre-game workout. He took ground balls, ran the bases, got some throws in and then took batting practice at Twin Lakes Park in Sarasota.

“The first day I swung, which was just dry swings, they were 50-60 percent, pretty hesitant,” Hardy said. “The next day, probably the same thing. But I kind of gradually built it up to the last three days, I’ve been swinging as hard as I can, and I didn’t feel anything at all. I don’t think there’s any reason to be hesitant. I feel I’m healthy enough to be good to go. “

Hardy has been following the team by watching games on his computer or checking box scores on his phone. He has gotten regular texts from hitting coach Jim Presley and also spoke to manager Buck Showalter a couple of times on the phone.

The Orioles, who have been going primarily with Robert Andino at shortstop, haven’t decided how long his rehab stint will last, but if Hardy has no setbacks, it’s expected that he’ll be available at some point during next week’s home series against the Seattle Mariners, which runs May 10-12.

“It’s all going to be a feel thing,” Hardy said. “I know the first game, I’m guessing that I’ll probably play six innings, get three or four ABs, and then I’d like to start playing a full game over the next two games. If I feel like I made the adjustments I need to make, that could be enough. But it’s up to them.”

It's been a busy couple of days on the minor league side, and my friends at -- Roch Kubatko and Steve Melewski -- have been all over it today with the news.

Just to recap -- and these developments were confirmed by director of player development John Stockstill -- the Orioles traded minor league outfielder Jeff Fiorentino to the Atlanta Braves and infielder Paco Figueroa to the Philadelphia Phillies for cash or future considerations. ... They promoted outfielder Kyle Hudson from Single-A Frederick to Bowie and demoted catcher Adam Donachie from Triple-A Norfolk to Bowie. ... They will place Bowie infielder Billy Rowell (ankle tendinitis) on the seven-day disabled list and could do the same tomorrow with Baysox first baseman Joe Mahoney. The Orioles' Minor League Player of the Year last season, Mahoney is still feeling some discomfort in his quadriceps. He'll undergo an MRI later today. ... Frederick outfielder Trent Mummey crashed into the wall today while trying to make a catch. He was taken by stretcher to a local hospital, but Stockstill said that the early reports are good and Mummey is alert and responsive. ... Pitching prospect Jesse Beal, who pitched last year for Single-A Delmarva, had labrum surgery yesterday.

Posted by Jeff Zrebiec at 2:35 PM | | Comments (10)


Personally I think Andino's success won't last and I think the team will be better when Hardy returns, although I hope they can keep Andino fresh by giving him spot starts here and there, to be ready if B-Rob or Hardy go down again.

I welcome Simon's return too, although I am a bit confused about the plan to stretch him as a starter. He seems to be a logical person to take over for Rupe in the pen. He'd be a big upgrade there. I am still interested in what will happen when Matusz returns, and if Duchsherer actually makes it. It seems like a starter is the last thing they need from Simon. Did I misunderstand something there regarding their intentions for him?

No they are stretching him out with the thought he could be a starter.

Can either Andino or Hardy play third? Wouldn't mind seeing one of them over there instead of Reynolds at some point.

Jeff Z's reply: Hardy never has in big league game,. but Andino played there last year at times.

Agree with you, NOT sure how long we can go with a guy hitting a "buck-fifty" especially the 3rd strike swings on balls in the dirt or a foot outside.

Why did they start Andino at short last night instead of Izturis? Isn't Izturis better defensively?

Jeff Z's reply: I didn't ask, but my guess is Andino has been playing so well defensively at short that they figured, why not stick with what's been working.

I don't see why people made such a big deal about signing Reynolds in the first place. His lifetime .242 avg. before the season began? The three highest K totals in MLB history?! An occasional dinger isn't enough to make up for those stats.

Can i just point out that Reynolds isn't even striking out half as much as he was last year...Lee strikes out more then him. But i will admit he is sometimes frustrating to watch

Reynolds may not be hitting yet , but he is playing the best D we've seen at third since Cal. Andino will start to struggle as heis popping up on teams radar.

I like the job Andino is doing, this is the player he was all last year at norfolk and what we saw the september season... I believe he turned the corner and will improve with randolph pushing and coaching him.. I like izturis but if I had to choose right now I keep Andino plus his experience at 2b and 3b . I wish Simon wel he could help us although I see him more as a spot starter/long reliever now on this team.. I believe millwood could fit to try out if his contract were reasonable enough to release if neccessary and bergesen or tillman remaim so unpredictable. They will have to decide on one of them anyway when matusz is ready.. I still think Tillman can be a big pitcher but would be better served at AAA until his production and command forces the orioles to bring him back up.. I could see Andino getting real regular playing time spelling at 3b and 2b giving both a day or two off each week.. I like the move of reynolds to the #8 spot until he gets hot but his defense has been solid..

If I were batting .200, had a reputation as a fragile man, had a younger 27 yr. old back up batting .300+, and playing gold glove caliber SS in my absence....I'd be in hurry to get back on the field too.

is justin duechhher still alive ?\

Jeff Z's reply: Yes, he's been throwing from the mound but is not yet ready for rehab assignment. He's not able to come off the 60-day DL until May 30 or something like that anyway.

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About the bloggers
A Baltimore native, Dan Connolly has been covering sports for 14 years, and baseball and the Orioles for 10 seasons, including the past six with The Sun. His first year covering baseball on a daily basis was Cal Ripken Jr.'s final season as a player. It's believed that is just a coincidence.

Steve Gould is an assistant sports editor for The Sun, overseeing Orioles coverage. The Columbia native joined The Sun as a sports copy editor in 2006 after graduating from the University of Maryland.

Peter Schmuck has been covering baseball for a lot longer than Steve Gould has been on this earth. He is now a general sports columnist, but has been a beat writer covering three major league teams (the Dodgers, Angels and Orioles) and also spent a decade as the Sun's national baseball writer. If you want more of his insight on the Orioles and other sports issues, check out his personal blog -- The Schmuck Stops Here.

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